Texas Grifter J. Nicholas Bryant ‘Upset’ Over 14 Year Fraud Sentence
A Texas man who pleaded guilty to swindling dozens in an elaborate scheme to fund his lavish lifestyle was sentenced on Thursday to 14 years in prison.J. Nicholas Bryant, 26, pleaded not guilty last November to one count of wire fraud after bilking at least 50 people in an elaborate ruse that involved booking goods
A Texas man who pleaded guilty to swindling dozens in an elaborate scheme to fund his lavish lifestyle was sentenced on Thursday to 14 years in prison.
J. Nicholas Bryant, 26, pleaded not guilty last November to one count of wire fraud after bilking at least 50 people in an elaborate ruse that involved booking goods and services—and then sending fake payments through online payment platforms. Prosecutors estimate that in total, Bryant stole approximately $1.2 million in the fraud scheme, where he assumed various fake names and backgrounds to add an air of legitimacy.
During his yearlong scheme, prosecutors say Bryant took over a dozen private jet flights, spent half a day on a 90-foot yacht complete with steak and champagne, stayed in numerous luxury hotels, and bought five high-end cars that were worth about half a million dollars.
But on Thursday, Bryant was sentenced to over a decade in prison and will have to pay over $1.1 million in restitution to his victims.
“Things went pretty rough today,” Bryant told The Daily Beast via jail-house text message hours after his sentencing. “I’m extremely upset about how things [went] down today.”
Bryant, who has remained in custody since his December 2021 arrest, said that one reason for his prison sentence was his decision to exclusively speak to The Daily Beast last November—where he admitted that all the allegations against him “are pretty much true.”
“I took private jets and stayed at the most expensive Airbnbs and hotels. Went deep sea fishing and toured everything that was possible,” Bryant previously said, before stressing numerous times his remorse. “By far my most favorite trip was to [Turks] and Caicos. I spent two weeks on the island from fishing to sailing yachts. I stayed in a $30,000-a-night house. It was amazing.”
In response to U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham’s previous statement noting that Bryant was on his way to becoming the “Anna Delvey or Frank Abagnale” of his small Texas city, the 26-year-old said at the time that he had those infamous swindlers beat.
“My story might be more wild than theirs! I can almost guarantee it!” he added in November.
He previously noted that his elaborate scheme began in January 2020, after he randomly booked a charter jet plane after discussing the desire to play golf in Arizona with a friend.
“We did the trip no problem and when I asked how I am going to pay for it, [the sales representative] said I could wire the money,” Bryant previously explained, noting he “just Googled third-party wire transfers.”
There, he learned that those systems, like Quickbooks, would send over confirmation payments that he could later cancel. Those delayed payment confirmations, he said, allowed him to “get away with it for so long” but also made him feel constant anxiety about being caught.
Prosecutors say Bryant’s scheme fell apart after a Nov. 2021 trip to Miami. While investigators did not go into detail in court documents about how Bryant was eventually nabbed, he told The Daily Beast in November that his greatest mistake during that trip was using the same private charter company for his return flight back to Texas.
“It was fun, but I definitely do regret it. A lot of these companies are good, hard-working people. They built these companies up and it’s hard to take a $100,000 loss. And I did that to 50 people,” Bryant said in November. “It’s definitely weird to look at pictures and think wow I was just living in the moment.”
On Thursday, Bryant offered the same sentiment.
“Upset can’t even touch how I feel,” he wrote.