LOS ANGELES -- It’s an online dating nightmare. James Rice, who used the aliases James Turner, Jimmy Turner and Jimmi Turner, stole the hearts and money of lonely women across the country.
Rice, 52 of Redondo Beach, portrayed himself as a diamond broker, an heir and the nephew of media mogul Ted Turner, KTLA reports. He was blonde, blue-eyed, funny, charming, stayed in high-end Beverly Hills hotels and supposedly owned nice cars and boats.
And women fell for it in droves. His local victims hail from Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Hacienda Heights and Beverly Hills. He even lured in women from Alaska and Alabama. Police believe he had more victims.
Mostly middle-age, vulnerable women seeking a relationship fell in love with Rice only to fork over their life savings or children’s college fund when he asked for loans. Police believe Rice conned about $300,000 total out of the victims, FOX reports.
One victim recounted to KTLA the lies she was told. “You are beautiful, you’re smart, I want to go in business together. My inheritance hasn’t arrived yet -- I need a loan, ” she said.
"He tugged at their heartstrings," a detective told the Daily News. "He would disappear for months at a time. Then there would be email communications to try to string them along and he would make his way back, take them to a nice dinner and say, 'I missed you. I missed you.' As long as the money was coming, he would tend to stick around."
In reality, Rice was a methamphetamine user who hadn’t held a job for years. In September, he pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to 16 months in jail.
Other victims, or anyone with more information on the suspect, are urged to call Manhattan Beach police Detective Mike Allard at 310-802-5125 or sheriff's Detective Billy Lovell at 562-347-2660.