LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock man accepted a plea deal and admitted to defrauding several victims into, among other things, paying for a charter flight to Miami with friends.
J. Nicholas Bryant, 26, was arrested in December 2021.
According to court documents, in November 2021, Bryant negotiated with a private charter flight company for flights he said he needed.
He said he was interested in buying an airplane and wanted a “demo flight” to make his final choice, court documents said. The plan was to start in Lubbock and ultimately end in Miami, with a stop in Houston. The total cost for all of the flights he scheduled was $76,000.
According to court documents, Bryant manipulated a payment platform to trick the charter company into believing the invoice was paid when it was not.
While Bryant was in Miami, the charter company was notified that the first invoice failed. Bryant promised to pay the full amount with bank wire transfers and assured the company that the amount would be paid.
During a half-day of sailing on a 90-foot yacht in the Port of Miami with his friends, Bryant demanded steak dinners, champagne and vodka. He never paid for any of it, court documents said.
Bryant also defrauded a driver by convincing him to pay for expensive hotel rooms while he was in Miami, court documents said.
The flight to Miami was not the only time a charter flight company fell victim to Bryant, court documents said.
Of the 17 companies he attempted to defraud, nine fell victim, according to court documents.
“In nearly every instance, Bryant demanded limousine transportation at the destinations and required that the planes were stocked with vodka,” court documents said.
Bryant also acquired or attempted to acquire several expensive vehicles. The value of the vehicles totaled an estimated $543,215.12, court documents said.
Additionally, Bryant convinced a builder to build a home with a pool and workshop, accoring to court documents. The builder put in a large amount of work and labor into the project before a $980,000 payment failed to go through.
Bryant admitted to defrauding at least 50 victims, according to court documents.
In total, the estimated loss to victims was more than $1.5 million.
If a judge accepts the plea deal, Bryant faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
As of Tuesday, Bryant was held without bond in the Lubbock County Detention Center.