Police say Wilson Jackson, 37, claimed to be a millionaire on dating sites and social media as he targeted women, saying he wanted a dating relationship.
There are dozens of alleged victims, many of them from outside California. Often he would have the women fly to California from out of state, promising to reimburse them later.
Lillian L. Carranza, captain of the Los Angeles Police Department commercial crimes division, announced the arrest on Twitter: “If it is too good to be true… it is probably a scam. If you have been a victim-you are not alone! Contact your local police station.”
LAPD officials said Jackson would typically befriend women from out of state then offer to fly them to California or pledge to pay them back for purchasing the plane ticket.
He would then target victims when they were asleep or using the bathroom by stealing from their purse, taking their credit card details and identity information. Before the victim would fly home, Jackson would allegedly make further excuses and ask for a loan. Police said he wrote checks to women purporting to be for reimbursement but they would be tied to closed accounts.
FOX 11 reported he used the stolen money to buy clothes and pay his bills. Jackson’s excuses would include that he lost his wallet or was having trouble accessing cash from his bank.
“As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, he would financially devastate many of these women,” Carranza told ABC7. The LAPD is now urging any of his victims to contact detectives.
The news outlet reported that up to 20 women have already come forward to police, with the victims including a Dallas police officer and a San Diego state attorney
The suspect was detained on felony charges including identity theft, forgery, and grand theft, KTLA reported. Inmate records show he was taken into custody on a $270,000 bail.