Dennis SanSeverino is in jail. Trish Rynn, from whom he scammed more than $350,000, put him there. How did she do it? Legwork and persistence.
Lovefraud initially posted this case on our True Lovefraud Stories page in February 2008. The headline is, First he flashes wads of cash, then he steals her home and inheritance. That pretty much sums up what happened to Trish Rynn.
Unfortunately, Lovefraud has heard from plenty of people with similar experiences. They fell in love with the sociopath, trusted him or her, and lost everything. The difference with this case, however, is that Trish Rynn fought back. She reported him to New Jersey law enforcement authorities and actually got him prosecuted. When the case went to trial, SanSeverino pleaded guilty to taking $275,000 from Trish, his former fiancÃ©. He was put on probation and ordered to pay restitution of $2,000 per month. He complied, sort of, for awhile, and then stopped paying—violating the terms of his probation.
Violation of probation
At that point, the authorities probably would have done nothing to force him to pay. That’s when Trish really went into action. She kept calling the guy’s probation officer. She hounded the prosecutor. She wanted the guy to pay—or go to jail.
SanSeverino was ordered to appear for a violation of probation hearing in early February 2008. Trish took off of work to be there, but the case was postponed. This happened multiple times over the next seven months—the case was scheduled, Trish arranged to be there, and the hearing never happened. Finally, the hearing actually took place on September 26, 2008—almost a year ago. SanSeverino didn’t show up and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The guy was a fugitive.
Legal authorities were not exactly energetic in pursuing SanSeverino. But in April 2009, he was pulled over in Pennsylvania on a traffic violation, gave a fake name, and was arrested for falsifying his identity.
About the same time, coincidentally, Trish heard from a woman who met SanSeverino at a casino in Delaware. This prompted Trish to call the New Jersey sheriff’s department handling the case. The officers checked their computers and discovered, to their surprise, that SanSeverino was in custody in Pennsylvania. So after he served his time there, he was sent back to New Jersey. His long-delayed violation of parole hearing took place on July 2, 2009.
Sentenced to prison
SanSeverino tried to talk his way out of going to jail. He acted remorseful. He said he was going to “live in darkness” until he paid Trish back. He needed Trish to forgive him. The judge, Susan F. Maven, didn’t buy the act and sentenced SanSeverino to five years in prison.
Maybe, if the people of New Jersey are lucky, SanSeverino will serve at least half of his sentence. Because the only real benefit of him being in prison is that it may make it difficult for the guy to find new victims.
For Trish, the damage has already been done. In the victim impact statement that she read in court, Trish said,
“I am 47 years old now and I am dead broke. I am still paying attorney fees from all of this and it is almost three years later. I am a single mother. I worked as a massage therapist for the past 20 years of my life and truthfully, I am physically ready to retire from my work because I am hurting and I have injuries to my shoulder and nerve damage. But I cannot retire because of what this man did to me.”
Trish also said she was angry because her daughter’s life has been sidetracked as well. With her inheritance, Trish could have sent her daughter to college. SanSeverino took the money, and her daughter dropped out.
I don’t know if any victim of a sociopath ever wins a satisfying victory. I beat my ex-husband, James Montgomery, in court. The judge found him guilty of fraud and awarded me all the money he took from me—$227,000—plus $1 million in punitive damages. I was never able to collect my judgment and ended up declaring bankruptcy anyway.
Still, I think it is valuable to pursue justice. Sometimes our efforts get the con artists off the street, at least for a little while, so that maybe someone else is saved. Sometimes the predators end up with a record, which, if a future victim is smart enough to investigate, also may prevent the sociopath from pulling another scam.
But mostly we need the moral victory. We did not roll over. We fought. And even if we did not recover the money or property that were taken from us, we can feel justly proud for recovering our self-esteem.