Real Name: Edward Chase Maynard Jr.
Aliases: Eric Kessler
Wanted For: Fraud
Missing Since: September 1986
Details: Edward Chase Maynard is another Sweetheart Swindler known for attracting women and then depleting their bank accounts or robbing them of valuables to finance his expensive life style. One of the victims he conned was a successful hair salon owner, "Katherine". In September 1986, Maynard met Katherine at a singles' party. He claimed that he was Eric Kessler, a successful German businessman who was staying in the area for a year. When she told him about her business, he claimed that he knew of an invention that could help her. The invention was a computerized "video makeover" that could allow a customer to pick from a variety of different colors and hairstyles and place them on their photograph.
Kessler told her that he was planning on placing the video makeover system in several Midwestern hair salons, but he needed money from her for an investment. A wealthy friend gave her a $50,000 loan that Kessler would pay her later. The business account was then placed in Katherine's name. A few days later, he moved into her basement to help him with creating the business. Although the relationship was originally platonic, he later tried to romance Katherine.
Three weeks later, Kessler's conquest was complete: he bought her a brand new, king-sized bed that they would share. He began controlling every decision she made, choosing her wardrobe, makeup, and even jewelry. He even convinced her to lease a Cadillac with several expensive additions. The payment would be over $500 per month, which she thought was too much. However, he still was able to convince her to go through with the purchase.
Kessler deprived Katherine of sleep, forcing her to work with him at night on their business, even though she had worked all day at the salon. He often asked her for large cash advances that were supposed to go to other employees. He also asked her to put $27,000 of her own money into the business. She began to suspect that he was a con artist.
Eventually, Kessler ended the relationship and moved out of Katherine's apartment. On the day he was supposed to re-pay her for the loan, she met him at a bar. He told her that a special check was supposed to come for her; however, it never came. She attempted to write a check to her friend that had given her the loan, but unfortunately, the check bounced. Kessler left without paying her back any of the money that he had taken from her. In the end, she lost over $75,000 to him. She was forced into bankruptcy and had to sell her business.
Authorities later identified Kessler as con-man Edward Maynard; however, he had left town before he could be arrested.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 27, 1991 episode.
Results: Captured. Viewers' tips led authorities Naples, Florida, where Maynard was living under the alias Eric Kelly. Authorities learned that in December 1990, he became romantically involved with "Ann". He persuaded her to loan him $15,000, then left with the money.
In February 1991, he showed up in San Antonio, again using the alias Eric Kelly. He asked yet another woman to loan him some money. At first, she refused; however, when he became loud and angry, she decided to loan him the money. After that, she never saw him again. When she contacted the police, they realized that Kelley was being profiled on Unsolved Mysteries.
Four days later, another viewer's tip placed Maynard in Houston, Texas. He was arrested by the FBI at a Houston hotel. However, after he was released on bail, he fled the area. Three years later, he was captured in Toledo, Ohio and sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison. He served five years and has since been released.