‘Sweetheart swindler’ gets 5-plus years in prison
ST. PAUL — A Ham Lake, Minn., man pleaded for mercy, blamed his lifelong history of swindling women on bipolar disorder and promised a judge that — if she gave him probation — he would never do it again.
But Kent Norman Meyer said the same thing to three other judges in 1997 and 2003, Ramsey County prosecutor John Ristad said.
Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson did not give Meyer the probation he wanted. She sentenced him instead to the maximum allowed under state guidelines: five years and eight months. The prosecution had argued for that term.
Nathanson also ordered Meyer to pay full restitution to the victim.
Meyer, 62, was convicted of theft by swindle for bilking a 65-year-old St. Paul woman out of her life savings and the proceeds from her husband’s life insurance in 2011.
She lost more than $270,000 to Meyer’s “investments,” she said, and was forced to tell her granddaughter she could not fulfill her promise to help the girl with college.
Meyer targeted the woman through the dating website zoosk.com,
according to the criminal complaint in the case. He told her he was an experienced investor and could make her big profits. He had used the scheme before.
At one point, Meyer told her he needed a $70,000 Lexus for his investment activities. The woman gave him a cashier’s check for the amount.
The victim eventually searched for Meyer’s name on the Internet and found media accounts in which he was dubbed the “sweetheart swindler.”
When St. Paul police looked into the case, they discovered that Meyer had deposited the money the victim gave him into the bank account of his longtime girlfriend. It was then used to pay for credit-card bills and shopping at Macy’s, Sears and Home Depot, according to the criminal complaint.
Meyer pleaded guilty May 12.
“My life has been, since 14, a living hell,” he told Nathanson. “And I am so sorry I can’t even tell you. ... I needed therapy. I’m a pitiful soul, is what I am.”
Nathanson responded, “I’m concerned — that’s the nicest way I can put it — that your remarks have been all about you and the losses you’ve sustained over time.” He made only passing reference to the impact his actions had on the victim in the case, the judge said.
Prosecutor Ristad said Meyer had no remorse — and had even posted his profile recently on Match.com. Meyer’s attorney, Eric Rice, said it was an old posting.
Meyer asked for two weeks to turn himself in, but was taken into custody right after sentencing.
He was sentenced in 2005 to nearly five years in prison for bilking two women out of more than $300,000.
When Ristad joined the victim and her supporters in a courthouse conference room after the sentencing, she embraced him.