Prosecutors: Woman poses as man, dupes victim out of $100K

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]

EDWARDSVILLE — A woman will plead guilty to federal money laundering charges after prosecutors say she posed as a man online and convinced another woman to send her more than $100,000, court records show.

Joy Dykes, of Edwardsville, was charged this week with a single count of engaging in a money laundering conspiracy.

Federal prosecutors say Dykes posed as a man under the name “Aiden Marteen” and operated Facebook and email accounts under that name. Under the assumed identity, Dykes allegedly convinced an unnamed female victim to send her approximately $124,000.

An affidavit mentions an alleged co-conspirator residing in Brooklyn, New York; however, this individual is not named.

Prosecutors say Dykes’ scheme began in November 2011 and continued through February 2016. During that time, Dykes “duped the victim into developing a romantic relationship with ‘Marteen,’” court papers say.

Eventually, the victim agreed to buy a home with the individual she believed was Marteen. The victim began making payments to Dykes, believing them to be mortgage payments, authorities report.

Later, Dykes allegedly told the victim Marteen had been incarcerated for mortgage fraud and needed to send money to pay for legal fees and the balance of the mortgage. She then allegedly created the identity of Allison Ortiz, contacting the victim under this new assumed name.

Ortiz told the woman she was an FBI agent and began demanding restitution payments for the victims of the fictitious crimes committed by Marteen.

The victim made payments to Dykes through various means, including Western Union and Green Dot money transfers. Prosecutors say Dykes sent “dozens” of emails to the victim soliciting or threatening her into sending money.

Court records say Dykes’ guilty plea avoids an indictment by a federal grand jury.

The plea agreement shows the maximum sentence she could face is up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $500,000. She also could get up to three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors agreed not to file any additional charges, with the exception of possible tax fraud counts if further investigation shows them to be applicable.

Records show Dykes and her attorney signed off on the plea deal March 1, but it was not signed by a prosecutor until this week.

So far, no date has been set for Dykes to officially enter her guilty plea.

By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan