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Pinellas swindler accused of stealing over $100,000 from women

A Tennessee man accused of swindling two Tampa Bay women out of more than $100,000 was arrested Tuesday at the upscale J. Alexander's Restaurant in Tampa.

The hunt for David Joseph Jimenez, 44, began in June, when a 37-year-old Safety Harbor woman told Pinellas County deputies that Jimenez had swindled her.

She said she met him about a year ago through the online dating service Match.com and they began dating in February.

The woman said the romance lasted about four months.

During that time, authorities say, Jimenez stole the woman's personal information, opened multiple credit cards in her name and added himself as an authorized user.

He had the cards sent to other addresses or intercepted them before the woman found them in the mail, authorities said.

Jimenez also persuaded the woman to sign an altered car loan application for a Mercedes-Benz, which he subsequently wrecked, leaving her liable for about $60,000, police said.

Jimenez had been in hiding since 2007, when he was paroled from a Tennessee prison, where he did time for financial crimes.

He had been posing in Florida as his brother, Michael Jimenez, authorities said.

When Pinellas detectives tracked down the brother in Texas, they learned that David Jimenez had a history of identity theft.

Michael Jimenez said Thursday that his brother took out credit cards in his name, too.

"He continues to do this to people left and right. No one in the family talks to him because of the things he's done," said Michael Jimenez, 38.

He said David Jimenez stole money from their mother that was supposed to go toward her life insurance policy. The theft caused the policy to lapse shortly before their mother died in April.

"I believe that my brother's a psychopath and he completely fits the description," said Michael Jimenez. "He has no remorse for what he does. He continues to follow that track."

Along the way to an arrest, detectives encountered another woman, who said she was married to David Jimenez and was pregnant with his child. Authorities did not identify her.

They found that Jimenez also opened credit cards in her name and had run up at least $50,000 in debt.

"What he does is, he robs Peter to pay Paul. He takes cash from the credit card advances and then continues to open up cards, runs them up until there's no credit left and then starts on the next card," said Detective Steve Bingham of the Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit.

Detectives learned in late December that David Jimenez was living in the Westchase area of Hillsborough County.

Tampa police collaborated in Jimenez's arrest. He was held at the Hillsborough County Jail on several warrants.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

Fast facts

How to help

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office suspects others in the Tampa Bay area and Orlando may have been victimized by David Joseph Jimenez. Anyone with information was asked to call Detective Steve Bingham at (727) 582-6200, ext. 6786. To remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.

Pinellas swindler accused of stealing over $100,000 from women 01/08/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 12:22pm]
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