Ex-Whitemarsh man swin­dles bride-to-be of $250K

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NOR­RIS­TOWN » It could be a coun­try mu­sic song ti­tled, “Wed­ding Day Blues.”

A tale of love be­came one of be­trayal for a Mont­gomery County woman and her rel­a­tives who were swin­dled out of more than $250,000 by the woman’s paramour, a man claim­ing to be a ris­ing coun­try mu­sic star who de­vised an elab­o­rate fi­nan­cial scheme that in­cluded a fake Hawai­ian wed­ding.

“He’s a swindler who met an un­wit­ting young lady from Mont­gomery County down in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. He in­formed her that he was a mu­si­cian who played in Toby Keith’s band…It was all a lie. Toby Keith did never know him. He was not a mu­si­cian. He never had a con­tract,” Mont­gomery County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Christo­pher Daniels said

about David Lawrence Jensen’s de­cep­tion.

“His one job, as we were able to fig­ure out, was swin­dling women who were un­wit­ting into be­liev­ing that he was in love with them and go­ing to main­tain a re­la­tion­ship with them for the long haul, only to steal their money,” Daniels added.

Jensen, 44, for­merly of the 300 block of An­dorra Glen Court, Whitemarsh Town­ship, was sen­tenced in county court to 2½ to five years in state prison, to be fol­lowed by five years’ pro­ba­tion, af­ter he pleaded guilty to felony charges of deal­ing in pro­ceeds of un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties and theft by de­cep­tion in con­nec­tion with fleec­ing three county women out of a com­bined $252,000 in con­nec­tion with in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­tween April and Au­gust 2015.

Judge Risa Vetri Fer­man, who ac­cepted a plea agree­ment in the case, or­dered Jensen to pay full resti­tu­tion to his one­time fi­ancee and two of her rel­a­tives and to have no fur­ther con­tact with the women.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan on Aug. 3, 2015, when the then 32-year-old vic­tim, now of Up­per Gwynedd, went to po­lice to re­port she was a vic­tim of fraud.

The woman told Hat­field de­tec­tives she met Jensen, who at that time called him­self “David Lawrance,” dur­ing a va­ca­tion in Mem­phis, Tenn., in Novem­ber 2013, and that the pair be­gan a re­la­tion­ship. Jensen al­legedly told the vic­tim he was “in the process of re­ceiv­ing a lu­cra­tive coun­try singing con­tract,” de­tec­tives al­leged.

“David Lawrance presents him­self to (the vic­tim) as a ris­ing mu­si­cian and song­writer as­so­ci­ated with coun­try mu­sic singer Toby Keith,” Hat­field De­tec­tive Daniel Tin­neny al­leged in the ar­rest af­fi­davit, adding Jensen moved to Penn­syl­va­nia in Jan­uary 2014 and shared an apart­ment with the vic­tim in Whitemarsh. “Lawrance tells (the vic­tim) that he is signed to a con­tract with coun­try mu­sic mu­si­cians Toby Keith and Eric Church and is wait­ing for his large con­tract pay­ment to come through.”

Jensen’s string of lies con­tin­ued when he told the vic­tim that Toby Keith rented a mansion in Hawaii for Au­gust 2014 and said “that this would be a great time and op­por­tu­nity for a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding” for the cou­ple, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint. The cost of the trip was to be be­tween $500 and $1,000 per cou­ple.

Dur­ing June 2014, the vic­tim and Jensen asked rel­a­tives and friends to join them for the des­ti­na­tion wed­ding in Hawaii and the at­ten­dees pro­vided pay­ments to Jensen and the vic­tim for the trip, de­tec­tives said.

But Jensen later pre­sented the vic­tim with more lies, claim­ing a se­ries of “trau­matic” events, in­clud­ing a hur­ri­cane and threats made to Toby Keith, forced the can­cel­la­tion of the nup­tials.

“Lies and lies and lies,” Daniels said.

Fol­low­ing the can­cel­la­tion of the wed­ding, the vic­tim re­im­bursed her fam­ily and friends with her own funds, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

In April 2015, Jensen con­tacted the vic­tim’s aunt, of Hat­field, telling her that the des­ti­na­tion wed­ding was back on and that the Hawai­ian mansion was still un­der the lease agree­ment en­tered into dur­ing the orig­i­nal 2014 plans. Jensen told the aunt that the trip was now $3,000 per per­son, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

How­ever, Jensen claimed to the vic­tim’s aunt “that the wed­ding and trip is a sur­prise” and in­structed her not to tell the vic­tim or her par­ents and en­cour­aged the aunt to ask fam­ily and friends to at­tend the wed­ding, Tin­neny al­leged.

In ad­di­tion to the cost of at­tend­ing the des­ti­na­tion Hawai­ian wed­ding, Jensen told the vic­tim’s aunt “that there were spa treat­ments and a fish­ing trip which at­ten­dees could also pay for,” ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers.

“What we found out was that too was a big lie,” Daniels said.

But the vic­tim’s aunt, as in­structed by Jensen, then made six de­posits to­tal­ing $135,920 into two bank ac­counts to cover the costs of 18 wed­ding at­ten­dees, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit. Be­tween April 2015 and July 2015, the aunt did not have con­tact with her niece con­cern­ing the pur­ported sur­prise wed­ding.

How­ever, as the date of the des­ti­na­tion wed­ding grew closer, the aunt “be­came wary” that the trip would ac­tu­ally oc­cur, and on July 30, 2015, she spoke with her niece and they com­pared notes about Jensen’s ac­tiv­i­ties and de­ter­mined that Jensen “had in fact de­ceived and de­frauded them of their money,” Tin­neny al­leged.

At that time, Jensen was be­lieved to al­ready be out of state.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion ul­ti­mately de­ter­mined that Jensen also used his one­time girl­friend’s iden­tity to open credit card ac­counts with­out her au­tho­riza­tion and made unau­tho­rized pur­chases, ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed by Whitemarsh De­tec­tive Craig Cub­bin.

Po­lice used fin­ger­prints taken from the Whitemarsh apart­ment shared by the vic­tim and Jensen to ul­ti­mately de­ter­mine Jensen’s true iden­tity. In court doc­u­ments, de­tec­tives al­leged Jensen was also wanted in Colorado, Min­nesota and South Dakota and had pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for theft by swin­dle charges.

Toby Keith

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