Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Provides Information on Top Scams Targeting Singles and Tips for Preventing Financial Fraud
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of BRANDON KIEHM, 35, for stealing approximately $26,000 from two women he met on Tinder under the guise of needing to pay for relatives’ cancer treatments, as well as $13,000 from a man who employed him as a dog walker. The defendant is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with three counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, as well as one count each of Identity Theft and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degrees.
“The classic dating scams of yesteryear appear to be thriving online,” said District Attorney Vance. “My Office is seeing an increase in the number of scammers targeting singles online. I urge New Yorkers to be on alert when using these applications, and to be wary of those who would take advantage of personal relationships for financial gain. Most importantly, trust your instincts: if something feels wrong or suspicious about a request from an online acquaintance – male or female – don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand details. I urge anyone who believes that he or she may have been the victim of this type of fraud to call my Office’s Financial Frauds Hotline at 212-335-8900.”
According to court documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, beginning in August 2015, KIEHM is charged with stealing approximately $14,000 from a woman he met through Tinder, a mobile dating application. Claiming to work in the financial industry, KIEHM repeatedly asked the victim for cash, saying he lost access to his bank account after his wallet was stolen, and that he urgently needed funds to pay for his sister’s cancer treatments. In one instance, under the guise of repaying the victim for $5,000 in cash, KIEHM knowingly wrote her a check from a closed account, and the check was rejected by her bank.
In a similar scheme in October 2015, the defendant is charged with stealing approximately $12,000 from a second woman that he met through Tinder. KIEHM again purported to work in the financial industry, and made similar claims about immediately needing funds for a family member being treated for cancer. The victim gave KIEHM cash up front, and could not deposit the checks KIEHM wrote her from the same closed account.
In a separate scam beginning in July 2015, KIEHM is charged with stealing the debit card information belonging to a Manhattan man who employed him as a dog walker. Using that information, KIEHM opened and funded an account with Venmo, an electronic payment service, and made transactions totaling approximately $13,000 without the victim’s permission over the next two months.
In response to a recent uptick in scams targeting singles, District Attorney Vance and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Financial Frauds Bureau offered the following information on online dating scams and tips for preventing financial fraud:
Top Scams Targeting Singles:
- A perpetrator says they’ve lost access to their bank account because their wallet was stolen and needs money.
- A scammer claims to need money quickly for a family emergency, often health-related, or claims to live in a faraway place and needs money wired in order to visit the victim. The perpetrator might even ask that the money be wired to a different person.
- A suspect asks their victim to cash a check for them, but unbeknownst to the victim, the check is written from a closed account.
- Widows and widowers are often targeted by scammers that attempt to capitalize on loneliness by reminiscing about an era in which the victim grew up.
Tips for Staying Safe and Preventing Fraud:
- Beware of anyone that speaks in generalities, uses aliases or multiple names, or avoids giving specific information, such as an employer, address, names of family members, schools attended, etc.
- Be wary of anyone who asks for money for any reason. If asking for a specific event (lost wallet, family illness, etc.), ask questions and get specifics.
- Never send money to someone you’ve never actually met.
- Ask yourself:
- What do I really know about this person?
- Have I met their friends?
- Do I know where they live and work?
- Do they have a social media presence? Does it correspond with what you know?
Financial Frauds Bureau:
The Financial Frauds Bureau specializes in investigating and prosecuting financial crimes and fraud that affect citizens and businesses in Manhattan. The Bureau’s prosecutions include schemes to defraud, employee thefts, fraudulent document crimes, thefts committed by attorneys and other professionals, the unauthorized practice of law, offenses related to real estate and housing, and the theft of public funds.
The Bureau also supervises two specialized units dedicated to the protection of two particularly vulnerable groups of citizens: the Elder Abuse Unit, which investigates and prosecutes the financial exploitation of senior citizens, and the Immigrant Affairs Unit, which focuses on fraudulent schemes targeting the immigrant community.
Assistant District Attorney Raphaelle Monty is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gloria Garcia, Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Archana Rao, Principal Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Michael Sachs, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegal Maureen Paparo is assisting with the case.
District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD’s Midtown South Precinct for its assistance with the investigation.
BRANDON KIEHM, D.O.B. 9/21/1980
New York, NY
- Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, three counts
- Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count
- Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.