• News Ticker alerts

A con man accused of using the stolen identities of his parents to run up more than $3 million in debts was sentenced to 14 years prison, last week.

Tyler Adams admitted 48 felony fraud counts on the day that his case was set for trial, last month.

The fraudster’s mother and stepfather were living in a mobile home in Pennsylvania, when then-34-year-old Tyler Adams was purchasing properties in Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla and downtown San Diego, in 2006.

The prodigal stepson collected more than $180,000 in commissions alone, because he posed as both loan officer and real estate agent during the purchases, according to Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn.

Adams also collected rent from tenants and pocketed that money; he never made any payments and defaulted on at least five mortgages, the prosecutor said. Tyler Adams also opened up credit lines to buy clothing and computers and to charge common expenses such as groceries and gasoline.

Adams’ step-father tried contacting law enforcement in California in 2007, after the man began to suspect what was going on.

Tyler Adams fled to Hawaii that year. Adams reportedly lived in Kahala and was known there as Kevin Kennedy – and four other names. Eventually, a grand jury in Oahu indicted the multi-named man for stealing $130,000 from Hawaiian banks; Adams is accused of registering four fake businesses and a charity in that state and then opening bank accounts for each. All this was reported in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, which quoted a prosecutor there who described Tyler Adams as “a con man, a sociopath who had no regard for the victims’ property or those who might be affected by his criminal activity.”

Fraud investigators in San Diego County got an arrest warrant for Tyler Adams in July 2009. After some months, they found him moving his belongings out of a property in La Jolla, and arrested him in November 2009.

Stepdad Donald Chaffee flew out from Pennsylvania to testify at a preliminary hearing in San Diego County in June 2011. During the 3-day hearing, the man was shown many documents; he said “No, that is not my signature” probably thirty times. Donald Chaffee said he worked the same job at a metal shop for twenty years, making twelve dollars an hour, and his wife Bonnie worked at a plastics assembly plant for twenty years. Donald Chaffee said he married Bonnie more than 30 years ago, and took in her 4-year-old child and raised him like a father. He said Tyler Adams grew up using the name Kevin Michael Schoolcraft.

After a stint in the Navy, Kevin Michael Schoolcraft moved back in with his parents, the stepdad said. Kevin Schoolcraft went to Penn State University, but friction developed because the stepson was “trying to control everything,” according to Donald Chaffee. He described his stepson as “opinionated” and “such a dominating and controlling person.” His parents finally kicked him out of the mobile home and Kevin moved to California and changed his name to Tyler Adams.

In a video’d statement played in court last week, Donald Chaffee said he had phone conversations with Tyler in which the stepson said that if he was smart enough to take advantage of people, then that’s just the way the world works. The stepfather expressed sorrow at how all this has affected his wife, the mother of Tyler Adams. “It’s taken the heart and soul out of her,” he stated. “It’s her only child. You don’t expect them to be perfect, but you don’t expect them to be bad.”

Donald Chaffee said he never heard a word of remorse from Tyler Adams.

At the sentencing hearing November 15, Tyler Adams told the judge, “I would never say that” and “I don’t know who’s feeding him those things to say.” He told the judge that prosecutor Anna Winn “got them to turn against me.”

The admitted fraudster told Superior Court Judge Robert Kearney, “I love my family very much.” He claimed, “I tried to help them” but “things went terrible.” Adams said the real estate market collapsed and his wife was pregnant and he didn’t know what to do.

Adams sometimes acted as his own attorney over the years that he has been in custody in San Diego County. As the case progressed, he filed one motion which stated: “This was a monetary dispute civil matter amongst family members from the very beginning.”

Judge Kearney spoke directly to Adams. “You are very sharp and you knew what you were doing,” the judge said. “What you did was brutal, it was prolific, and it was sophisticated.” Judge Kearney committed the felon to the California Department of Corrections for 14 years. Adding in “good time credits,” Tyler Adams already has credit for serving 6 years, according to prosecutor Winn.

Tyler Adams, now 40, immediately asked Judge Kearney to make his sentence run concurrent with whatever sentence a Hawaiian court might give him. The judge informed Adams that he has no authority to make that order. Adams also submitted paperwork for an appeal, before the sentencing hearing was finished.

Prosecutor Anna Winn said a prosecutor in Hawaii has been in frequent contact with her, he is interested in progress of Tyler Adams’ case. Attorney Winn said that normally California will not give up a prisoner to another State before the prison term is finished, but exemptions can be made through a “governor-to-governor warrant.”

Related story: I'm Smarter, So I Deserve This, City Lights, August 17, 2011

  • News Ticker alerts


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 19, 2012 @ 3:41 p.m.

Adams also submitted paperwork for an appeal, before the sentencing hearing was finished.

You do not appeal a guilty plea.


Javajoe25 Nov. 19, 2012 @ 5:25 p.m.

You know what they say: Throw everything you got at the wall and see if anything sticks. I'm sure this guy would file papers for misrepresentation even though he represented himself, if he could.


girlduck26 Nov. 20, 2012 @ 10:49 a.m.

As a former girlfriend....(2001-2003) I know for a fact that Tyler would indeed tell someone "If I am smart enough to take advantage of you, it isn't my fault and that is ok". He said it to me shortly before we broke up. I am not stupid...just caring and fell for his sob stories and blue eyes. And HE is the one who insisted I get involved with him...not the other way around.

Tyler seemed to be into fancy things....he was probably embarrassed his folks lived in a mobile home and used that as an excuse to be mean to them. I saw the way he was with people....and he made it sound like he was hardly ever even around his Mom, and was raised in Boston by a great grandmother named Mimi. He seemed emabarrassed to say he was from PA. That is crazy. Pennsylvania is a beautiful state, Penn State is a great school, and I really tried to help him but nothing was ever enough. He just wanted his life to be really "fancy" I think. It was like he was afraid to be middle class. And he didn't seem to believe it when I told him sometimes people have to work in a company for a while before working their way up the ladder. He wanted things fast.

I wish Tyler would have been honest and not messed up his life. This makes me sad.


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2012 @ 1:59 p.m.

He is a con man, and he obviously conned you pretty good if you feel sad for him, WHO you should feel sad for are the poor and middle class people he conned their life savings out of....I feel sorry for you, need some help in making better choices in BFs.


Ponderer Nov. 20, 2012 @ 5:45 p.m.

For the third time, after reviewing all three SD Reader stories about this guy, it's inconceivable that the stepfather was innocent. The stepfather was obviously involved in all this. There is just no way Adams could have done all they claim he did without his parents' cooperation.

Also, certainly a guilty plea may be appealed for a variety of reasons. As well the channel ten news report on this said Adams was appealing the sentence.


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2012 @ 8:36 a.m.

No a "guilty plea" cannot be appealed for a "variety of reasons", the ONLY reason would be a lack of an informed decision, and these types of appeals fail100% of the time. They are never successful-ever, and I know because I have been involved with tons of them.

And you are certainly entitled to your opinion about the step father, but it is a crazy unsupported ridiculous assertion that the step father was in on this scam, he received NO monetary benefits whatsoever, had his credit ruined and had documented proof of trying to unwind the power of attorney and contacts with multiple LE agencies over the problems, that is hardly indicative of guilt in any manner whatsoever.


girlduck26 Nov. 21, 2012 @ 7:46 a.m.

Tyler is smooth...trust me. One time he convinced me to stop going up on campus to use their computers in the computer lab and to get a Gateway computer for my apartment. We got one. He knew a lot about computers and I used them all the time but was not a computer guru about the mechanical part of it.

We got the Gateway and he said there were problems with it and he said he would call the company and talk to them for me. He had my info...I was living with him at the time......and he told them he was me. He mispronounced my name in such a way that the people might think they had the right person but believe my name was a man's name from Europe or something. At the time, I just thought he was being nice and helping me get my computer running...and taking care of the techno stuff.

Anyway...he returned the Gateway and then said we had to get a Dell. We got it and it worked fine and we used it during the two years we were together. However, because I had already opened up a Gateway account previously, he somehow contacted them and got a laptop for himself ON MY ACCOUNT....and of course I got the bills to pay for it.

 However,  all this time, I never saw any alternative ID's, fake checks or anything like that....and he did work really hard at his jobs which most of the time were half commission based types of jobs.  He would always get his hopes up that he was going to get big paychecks and then say that deals fell through and he would be so hurt and shocked.     He worked at a modeling agency and some mortage places.

Half the time I was with him I was in PA and then we moved to CA together. I never would have guessed he would have stooped so low as to do the crap he did to so many people though. I thought he was just mean to me like "a guy being mean to his girlfriend who he doesn't think is hot enough or something." I never would have guessed he would have been some bigtime con artist. I really thought he was just working in real estate and would eventually be happy and work his way up.


girlduck26 Nov. 21, 2012 @ 7:46 a.m.

When he broke up with me, I moved on...he begged me back 6 months later but I just said I had moved on. And I DO feel sorry for the people he scammed. I feel really sorry for his parents too ...never met them, but I DO believe he could scam them without them intentionally trying to do anything illegal.

I know how Tyler can be. And maybe the stepdad thought he was doing the right thing to bring Tyler back into the family and closer to his Mom while they are getting older. You know, his Mom may be heartbroken over not having a good relationship with her grown child. And no one is getting younger. And also step parents----the ones who actually CARE about family--have to try extra hard to fit in because they are not the real parent. So the stepdad may have just been trying too hard to help his stepson. I feel badly for him....the stepdad and Mom.

I wonder what happened to Tyler's Russian wife and their daughter? I feel badly for them too. What a mess to grow up with a Dad who is a theif. Very sad.

Get this...one time I was leasing a Corolla car...and he tore the Corolla sign off of it and said that he was going to tell people it was a Camry cause that was a better car. THAT is the kind of nonsense he thought mattered in life....labels! Crazy.


girlduck26 Nov. 24, 2012 @ 8:32 p.m.


Clearly I'm a computer IDIOT! I can't figure out how to put this duck pic in the area with my online name.....so it went to the comments area!


girlduck26 Nov. 26, 2012 @ 3:45 p.m.

I can't take credit for this photo...someone else took it...I found it on the web.


Ponderer May 24, 2019 @ 2:43 p.m.

Funny I picked today to follow up on this.

I spent a bit of time Googling...looks like the Tyler Adam mom died. Found the obituary. The stepdad is retired or I think I saw something about how he lost his job. I still think the stepdad was in on all this. Plus it's all over the internet that after Tyler finished this 14 year sentence in California (looks like he did 7) he started a new sentence in Hawaii, 10 years.

I guess he was eligible to get out in September 2019, on parole when he escaped! two days ago, which is why I say it's funny that I picked today to follow up on this.

So he's on the loose!


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader