Driven to Steal: More victims speak out against man accused of posing as attorney

(WSVN) - It’s a story we broke earlier this year: a man claiming to be a lawyer accused of ripping off clients in South Florida. Now, more people are coming forward claiming they were victims, too. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin has the update to our special report: “Driven to Steal.”

We first exposed John Ryan in May — accused of being a fake lawyer.

Belkys Nerey, May 2019: “All new tonight, a suspect on the run from Illinois has turned up here in South Florida.”

Our stories aired, and the calls poured in. People who claim they were victims, too.

Ashley Martin, victim: “We pulled it up, and when I saw his pictures, I’m like, ‘That’s him!’ I saw the videos, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.'”

Ashley Martin’s story is just like the others we’ve heard.

She got in a bad accident, needed money to repair her car and hired John Ryan as her lawyer.

Ashley Martin: “He assured us, ‘Oh, this is such a big-time case. We can get this settled so quick. We wouldn’t even have to go to court. Let’s meet up. Let’s meet up. Let’s meet up.'”

Ashley went to Ryan’s fancy downtown Miami office to sign the paperwork.

What she didn’t know is Ryan was just renting a desk in a public workspace.

Ashley Martin: “He even gave us coffee. He’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll have my assistant grab you coffee.’ He ended up getting us the coffee to not make us wait. We’re like, ‘Wow. He’s so nice — like not even making us wait for his assistant!'”

Eliot Rubin says he was also fooled by Ryan.

Brian Entin: “Was he believable?”

Eliot Rubin, victim: “Was super attentive. Definitely passed the smell test.”

Rubin says he paid Ryan $1,000 for help with a lawsuit.

Eliot Rubin: “I don’t know if he has ruined my chance of actually resolving the case. If he hasn’t ruined it, he has definitely made it a lot more annoying.”

Eliot, Ashley and the other victim we spoke to earlier this year, Milly, say they found out too late Ryan was lying to them.

Sgt. Rick Bernas, Deerfield, Illinois Police: “He was scamming the people he moved, credit card companies, hotels, movers, people that needed attorney representation — anyone he came in contact with.”

In May, John Ryan was tracked down in Illinois and arrested for skipping out on an unrelated probation case. Now, Miami Police are working to extradite him back here to South Florida this week so he can face charges in the fake attorney scheme.

Ashley Martin: “I want to go to court that day and sit front row. I want him to know that we know, and we’re here, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get you behind bars for as long as possible.”

Ashley, Milly and Eliot have all spoken to Miami Police and the Florida Bar.

None have gotten any money back from Ryan, and they are worried because he has their social security numbers and medical records.

The Florida Bar has an open investigation, and Miami detectives say they have a warrant ready to go when they’re able to finally extradite Ryan and bring him to justice.

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