A Cherry Hill man who wooed a Florence woman, then robbed her of money and trust, was handcuffed and taken to prison Friday, marking the end of a strange, sad tale of modern romance.
“Will I ever trust another man? I don’t know,” Mischele Lewis, 37, said at the Burlington County Courthouse in Mount Holly before Superior Court Judge Philip Haines sentenced William Allen Jordan, 50, to three years in state prison.
Authorities and Lewis both said Jordan lied about his identity, past — including fraud, bigamy and sex crime convictions — and present over the course of the couple's 15-month relationship.
The ordeal led to nightmares, depression and financial distress, Lewis said during her victim impact statement.
The defendant was indicted on charges of third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree impersonating a government official. By taking the plea offer, he avoided state prison terms of 18 months to five years for third-degree crimes and up to 18 months for fourth-degree offenses.
“All I can do, once again, as I did before, is to apologize for what happened. And yes, I desperately wanted to make sure that when I did come here, it wasn’t just to say sorry, but also to make amends as best as I possibly can by (paying) that restitution,” Jordan told the court.
After his statement, Jordan handed over a check for $4,383.
Public defender Karen Thek noted that Jordan had worked to make that money, despite the publicity affecting some of his jobs.
The story reads like a “fictional book,” Burlington County Prosecutor Stephen Eife said.
Lewis, a nurse and mother of two, met Jordan on a dating website in January 2013. He presented himself as "Liam Allen," an employee of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence. The worldly career, he claimed, followed an orphaned youth in England and education at Oxford University.
Then, Lewis alleged, she received a call from someone claiming to be a government official who requested that she pay money in exchange for security clearance in order to be able to visit Jordan. She ultimately parted with $5,000.
Yet Jordan was really a Cherry Hill native who had fathered more than a dozen children with women in several countries — two of whom were his wives at the same time. The history is documented in the British press and in the book "The Bigamist — The True Story of a Husband's Ultimate Betrayal," by Scotland resident Mary Turner Thomson, one of Jordan's former wives.
Lewis has told her story to "Dateline NBC" and www.Lovefraud.org.
As the relationship unraveled, Lewis learned that Jordan had offenses for check fraud in New Jersey dating back to the 1980s. In the United Kingdom, where Lewis said he lived for 18 years, he is accused of bigamy, and was convicted and sentenced to prison for sexual assault.
Her discoveries came as she and Jordan were planning a life together.
“There was a wedding plan. There was a pregnancy,” Haines said, referring to parts of the victim impact statement Lewis did not read aloud.
In April, Jordan was arrested in the parking lot of a Cherry Hill strip mall after Lewis tipped off the police about a meeting she had arranged.
In handing down the prison sentence, Haines said he considered Jordan’s risk of re-offending, along with his “extensive criminal record.”
In New Jersey, Jordan has a string of bad-check charges from the 1980s, court records show. He later moved to England, where he did jail stints for bigamy and sexual assault, Eife said.
In addition to international publicity, Lewis’ plight got the attention of New Jersey Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, who has authored a bill that would recognize rape by deception.