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Mystery man tied to 8-state scheme

The Baltimore Sun

And he likes horses, too!

That's what Lauren Mendelsohn thought when a Baltimore man messaged her in September 2005 on Jdate.com, an online service for Jewish singles.

"I ride show jumpers," the divorced mother of two in Owings Mills said yesterday. "He supposedly bred racehorses. I say 'supposedly' because almost everything he ever told me was a lie."

So began Mendelsohn's anything-but-fruitful relationship with a mysterious man originally from Pikesville, who Illinois authorities say conned at least 10 women from eight states out of more than $1 million through elaborate schemes.

The lead investigator on the case in the Chicago suburbs said he is trying to get federal authorities involved in the case.

Mendelsohn said she lent the man more than $150,000. Authorities said another Baltimore-area woman gave him $100,000.

Late last week, Hillard Jay Quint, 42, a disbarred lawyer - and son of a disbarred lawyer - was arrested in suburban Chicago on warrants from Georgia accusing him of forgery and violating his probation on a theft conviction. Officials said yesterday that they are in the process of extraditing him to Georgia.

When Mendelsohn met Quint, she said that he boasted of owning a waterfront townhouse in Canton, driving a white Hummer, shopping for Lear jets and crisscrossing the world to compete against wealthy sheiks for hot year-old thoroughbreds.

All lies, Mendelson said.

The townhouse was a rental, the Hummer a lease and the Lear jet a fantasy, Mendelsohn said. She said she's still trying to figure out where Quint was calling from when he was supposed to be bidding against those sheiks.

"When I kicked him out," Mendelsohn said. "he had the shirt on his back, a computer and $200."

The case came to light this week when Chicago-area police announced that Quint was posing there as Matt Goldstein, a chief executive officer from California.

To one paramour, the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday, he showed off a business magazine cover with the headline: "Achiever of the Year 2006."

Deerfield Police Detective Juan Mazariegos took up the case when parents of the woman from the Chicago suburb didn't buy the new boyfriend's story. After a two-week investigation, police said they discovered that the man wasn't Matt Goldstein, but Hillard Jay Quint.

"Basically, he's a con artist," Mazariegos said yesterday.

When the parents looked into addresses and phone numbers supplied by Quint, they learned the addresses were vacant lots or did not exist, Mazariegos said. The phone numbers Quint provided were connected to answering services, the detective said.

No charges have been filed related to the alleged scheme to defraud women. But authorities say they believe there are victims in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas and Florida..

Authorities said they found files in Quint's apartment with the names of other girlfriends whom they are trying to contact.

When Mendelsohn met Quint, he claimed he owned a successful railing manufacturing company. Mendelsohn wanted to go slow. But the man she described as "not that attractive" swept her off her feet.

"On the second date, he gave me a dozen roses," she said.

The relationship turned serious in December, about the time she was visiting her parents in Hilton Head, S.C. He told her he was negotiating to buy a Lear jet and would fly down to meet her on the resort island.

"He said that they greeted him when he was buying the jet with a sign that said 'Congratulations, Hillard!'" she said, adding that Quint later said the alleged sale fell through.

Later, crippling business problems appeared to trouble Quint, according to Mendelsohn.

At Christmas, Quint told her a corporate crisis had frozen his cash flow, Mendelsohn said. Then, his car was stolen with $1,500 inside for an employee.

Mendelsohn had her parents wire her $1,000, which she turned over to Quint.

"I know, but it made sense then," Mendelsohn said.

A dream of owning her own multimillion-dollar horse farm seemed within reach as the couple shopped for exclusive property in Green Spring Valley.

They rented a townhouse in Owings Mills while looking over construction plans for a compound and consulting with a barn builder.

"This is the perfect guy, I thought, and I'm going to have my dream," Mendelsohn said.

But the dream turned into a nightmare after she gave him $150,000 from the sale of her previous home, and she began to search through his records.

He never owned his house, his car, his jet or his business, she said. He wasn't even divorced at the time.

After she kicked him out, she called Baltimore County police but never filed a report. Instead, she tracked down his wife and informed his probation officer in Georgia about Quint's life in Baltimore, which appears to have violated the conditions of his release.

Lisa Chapo said yesterday that she married Quint in June 2000, less than a year after his release from prison on a theft conviction, because he had convinced her that his incarceration had reformed him.

"He said he wanted to make life right," Chapo said from her Atlanta home. "He professed to be a changed man. He professed that he had become a Christian. He played it to the hilt."

Chapo said she and Quint - who grew up in a Conservative Jewish home and continued to observe the high holidays - taught Sunday School in a Baptist church and lived a "lower-middle-class" lifestyle. "We didn't have extravagant things because we couldn't afford it," she said.

They divorced last year.

Quint might have been following in his father's footsteps, authorities said. The Sun reported in 1981 that Philip David Quint, then 42 and a disbarred attorney, pleaded guilty to embezzling state funds and admitted that he took more than $104,000 from the Department of Economic and Community Development. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Mendelsohn said Quint's parents still live in the Baltimore region. Attempts to reach them last night were unsuccessful.

To those like Michael Bruner, who said he was Quint's ninth-grade English teacher at Pikesville High School, news about the charges came as a shock.

Bruner coached Quint on the varsity baseball team in the early 1980s, and said that while Quint was never a starter, he had good enough skills to make the varsity team.

"When somebody's name is brought up, and you can remember him right away, that person has generally made a good impression," Bruner said. "And he did."

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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