A man police say was preying on women he met on MySpace to commit fraud and theft was arrested Wednesday by investigators.
Jeff Ipson, 23, of West Jordan was arrested about 10 a.m. Wednesday at a relative's house in West Jordan following a tip that was called into detectives.
Police say Ipson would find women between the ages of 18 to 20 on MySpace.com, develop a relationship with them and eventually ask them out on a date, said West Jordan police officer Dan Harkness. One victim says she became engaged to Ipson, according to police.
"He encourages them to meet him, go on a date. He tries to impress them by saying he has a lot of money," Harkness said.
At some point during their dating, police say Ipson would ask the girl to cash large checks for him. The checks, however, were from closed accounts, Harkness said. By the time the victim found out, however, it was too late.
The victim either cashes or deposits the checks before the banks discover they're fake. The man then convinces the women to give him the cash, saying they can spend it together, Harkness said.
As of Tuesday, investigators had identified four victims in Salt Lake and Utah Counties who had lost nearly $30,000 to the man in the past three months.
West Valley police, to whom Ipson is no stranger, were also looking at Ipson as a suspect in a similar case in their jurisdiction.
Ipson has an arrest record from Ogden to Cedar City, according to court documents. He was convicted of third-degree felony theft in Iron County in 2006. That same year, he plead no contest to impersonating a police officer in West Valley. He currently has a jury trial scheduled in Salt Lake in May on charges of simple assault, criminal mischief and domestic violence in the presence of a child, according to court records.
Investigators say Ipson is no stranger to using the Web to find victims.
"The Internet for him is a vehicle to meet people," Harkness said.
Detectives believe Ipson has used the Net to find victims in similar scams in the past, but not as extensively as he is with the MySpace scheme.
"We do feel that there could be more victims. It's our hope they come forward," Harkness said.Anyone with information on Ipson or who believes they may have been victimized by him, can call police at 256-2000.