Man sentenced in Phila. for online dating scam

April 7, 2011 3:27:15 PM PDT
The man who ran an online dating scam has been sentenced to more than three years behind bars.

Jaitass Dhanoa, also known as Jay D. Singh, was sentenced to a maximum of 42 months in federal prison on Thursday.

Dhanoa, of India, is accused of meeting women on dating websites, pretending to be a high-powered financier, and then seducing them.

Once he gained their trust, prosecutors said, he would steal their credit cards and their identities.

Dhanoa admits he trolled internet dating sites looking for victims, especially women of Indian descent. U.S. authorities know of four local victims, although there's evidence he was dating upwards of 11 American women at the same time.

One of those victims left court Thursday surrounded by family and friends. She asked the judge to throw the book at Dhanoa. Afterward, she spoke with Action News.

"Everything came crashing down," she said. "It was just.... Everything that I saw that I thought was real, that I understood, was fake. And everything I saw in my future was shattered. And it really hurt me."

In court, the woman laid it out for the judge.

"He created a relationship where I kept falling more and more in love with him. These lies were part of his monstrous plan to steal my identity for his own financial gain," she told the judge.

She thought they would eventually marry. After she introduced Dhanoa to her parents he gave her a heart-shaped diamond necklace.

"I was head-over-heels at this romantic gesture. This necklace represented the love of the man I was going to marry. Later I discovered the necklace was fraudulently bought on my credit card," said the woman in court.

Dhanoa has never apologized directly to his victims. Back in January, he pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of unauthorized use of an access device, eight counts of bank fraud, and one count of false representation of United States citizenship.

On Thursday he told the judge he was sorry and has gotten religion since he was caught a year ago. But the judge gave him the max, three and a half years. In addition to the prison term, Dhanoa was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 and a $1,500 special assessment.

After the sentencing, the victim we spoke with said she believes Dhanoa is only sorry that he got caught.

"He's not sorry for the pain he's caused or the damage he's done. He's only sorry he's caught and I can gurantee he'll do it again," she said.

It will be a long time before Dhanoa can victimize women again in this country. When he gets out of jail he'll be deported and barred from coming back to the U.S. for 10 years.