By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A self-described "classy native New Yorker," who admitted he wooed a wealthy Manhattan woman just to steal her expensive jewelry, was sentenced to prison on Thursday.
Martin Berres, an aging Don Juan who pitched himself as a 63-year-old "gentleman" — and a Capricorn — on his MySpace page, pleaded guilty to grand larceny charges for stealing and then hawking his 60-year-old companion's $80,000 diamond necklace.
He also admitted to stealing more than $200,000 from the woman, whom he lived with for over six months in Chelsea, by draining her bank accounts and charging her credit cards.
"Most people regard me as being charming, intelligent, witty, reasonably handsome, sexy, a good dresser, a fabulous cook and most of all, a gentleman," Berres wrote about himself on his MySpace page before his arrest Nov. 23.
"I am looking for the passion that we all crave in a relationship. I am willing to give the same in return. I consider myself to be a find," the convicted fraudster added.
The judge who sentenced him was not amused by Berres' ploys.
“Mr. Berres you are a scam artist of the first rank and you scammed a woman who probably loved you,” said Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Lewis Stone when he sentenced him to 2 1/2 to five years in prison on one charge and two to four years for another.
Berres' lawyer, John Nicholas Iannuzzi, said Berres' relationship with the victim was genuine.
“They were truly in love and he tried to be a wonderful loving partner," Iannuzzi said. "Unfortunately he wasn’t able to afford the lifestyle he intended for both of them.”
Berres was previously convicted of bank fraud in Illinois, but it was not related to his dating game.