IOWA — You might think he’s pulling off the perfect con. At least that’s what several of the women who claim John Clarke scammed them think. Of the dozen who came forward with claims of fraud and theft, only two cases have resulted in criminal charges.
Earlier this month we told you about Lisa Olivier. How she’s out thousands of dollars after meeting a man named “Jay Davis” on Tinder.
“If I don’t come forward, who is? And how many women are going to keep getting scammed by this guy,” Olivier told us.
“I saw the story and I was like, this is unbelievable,” said Melanie Samples.
“It`s me too. It’s me too,” Amy Thomas told us.
After seeing the story, Thomas didn’t sleep at all that night. In March, she met a man online who told her his name was Jayshawn Miller and he lived on Clark Street.
Samples met the same man on a dating app over the summer. While he went by a different name, he had the same story.
“He said I work for a cell phone company for the last 20 years so I get all of the discounts,” said Samples.
After both women upgraded their phones and threw in some accessories, they say Clark took them and stuck them with the bill.
“$2,600. So I’m on the hook for that for the next two years. It doubled our bill,” said Samples.
“I’m stuck now with a $2,100 bill and he didn’t pay for the phones. He took the phones and is long gone,” said Thomas.
Both women reported what happened to the police. Thomas first went to the Pleasant Hill Police Department but says she was told to file the report with the department where the cell phone store is located.
“I went to Altoona Police and that’s where I found out his real name. They were quite familiar with who he is,” said Thomas.
Samples filed her police report in Madrid. Despite Clarke’s lengthy rap sheet, neither woman’s case went anywhere.
“In the back of my head, I don’t think I’ll ever see criminal charges against him,” said Samples.
“I can’t speak for other agencies. In our particular case and in this one situation, it was pretty cut and dry,” said Ankeny Police Lt. Brian Kroska.
Kroska says what Clarke is doing is a felony-level crime. At least that’s the charge he’s facing after an Ankeny woman brought her case to them. This June, a woman claimed Clarke scammed her out of three cell phones worth $1,900. Their investigation resulted in a 2nd Degree Theft Charge.
“Everything he told her was an essentially a lie to try to get those cell phones from her,” explained Kroska.
“He stopped reaching back to her, he wouldn’t return her phone calls. Found out he didn’t even work for the company that he said he did. In those particular circumstances, we believed it met the level for theft,” he added.
Thomas, Samples, and the other woman who didn’t want to talk on camera believe Clarke told them those same lies and should face the same charges.
“I wanted to see him behind bars. I wanted to see him caught and shown for the fool he is,” said Samples.
That takes going public with their personal lives. Something many of the women don’t want to do. For Samples, it’s very personal. She’s married but explained that she and her husband have an open marriage.
“I was very reluctant to file charges because of my situation and I didn’t want that going around my small town, creating god knows what rumors,” she explained.
“I tried so hard to forget about all of this. I’m trying to survive and get through and function and I’m humiliated, I’m embarrassed. I’m upset,” said Thomas.
Yet they’re reliving those emotions and putting their fears aside to warn other women about Clarke.
We reached out to his attorney, but our call was not returned. We also checked with Olivier, the first woman to bring this scam to our attention. She tells us no charges have been filed in her case.