LA newswoman accused of scheming with ex-con to defraud women

HomeU.S

LA newswoman accused of scheming with ex-con to defraud women

A Los Angeles TV reporter is raising a child with a serial womanizing con-artist, giving him a home, a luxury car and even money fro

BBC bias: Beeb accused of giving Sturgeon ‘free rein’ to attack political rivals
'Dance Moms' alum Kevin Cosculluela accused of sexually abusing underage students
Really!? Nicola Sturgeon accused of walking out of Boris call for TV briefing


A Los Angeles TV reporter is raising a child with a serial womanizing con-artist, giving him a home, a luxury car and even money from her own foundation.

Wendy Burch, 52, a former anchor with KTLA who worked briefly at Fox 5 in New York, went public with her infertility struggles and the conception of her son using an egg donor and sperm from her then-fiance, Bruce Taylor. She also appeared on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

But few knew that Taylor, 6-foot-5 with his movie-star looks, is also a convicted felon whose real name is James — and has a trail of angry women claiming he stole their money.

“This modern day Bonnie and Clyde has been doing this for years, destroying people’s lives with no remorse,” said Christine Weber, a Los Angeles businesswoman who has sued both Burch and Taylor, alleging they worked together to bilk her out of $150,000.

Weber contends in her suit that “Burch was aware that Taylor was using her phone and other resources that she provided to him in order for him to appear ‘successful’ and knowingly enabled him to conduct his fraudulent enterprise and scheme.” The resources included her Range Rover, she said.

She contends that “Taylor provided some of the $150,000 to Burch, and or their child.”

Weber, who grew up on Long Island, said she met Taylor at a Santa Monica restaurant in 2015 and they exchanged phone numbers. What followed was an initially platonic relationship during which he offered her a business opportunity.

Bruce Taylor, seen here with Charlie Sheen, routinely flaunts photos alongside celebrities to gain legitimacy.
Bruce Taylor, seen here with Charlie Sheen, routinely flaunts photos alongside celebrities to gain legitimacy.

She said he would text her photos of himself with celebrities, including John Stamos and Charlie Sheen, to give himself an air of legitimacy. And, Weber said, his relationship to Burch made him credible because a journalist would have seemingly vetted Taylor.

“This is all part of his con,” she said.

Taylor asked her for $150,000 in cash for a medical-marijuana delivery business, and promised a 15 percent return on her investment, Weber said.

Weber gave him the money just before they went to Las Vegas in November 2015 for what was supposed to be their first romantic weekend. After they returned, she said she never saw the cash — or Taylor — again.

“Was I stupid? Absolutely,” she said.

Weber hired a private investigator, and learned Taylor had a rap sheet and was also romancing a well-known soap opera actress.

Bruce Taylor, seen here with John Stamos, routinely flaunts photos alongside celebrities to gain legitimacy.
Bruce Taylor, seen here with John Stamos, routinely flaunts photos alongside celebrities to gain legitimacy.

Taylor did two stints in federal prison. He was convicted of bank fraud in Texas in 1999 and, most recently in San Diego, for making an “interstate threat to kidnap, kill or injure,” court records show. He got a two-year sentence and was released in 2018.

He threatened at least 10 people to extort money, in one instance telling a victim “we’re going to find you bro, you are making it very, very, very bad on your family,” according to the sentencing memo in the case which noted Taylor had three prior assault convictions.

When Weber posted about her experience with Taylor on the website scambook.com, more than 20 women contacted her with similar tales about him, she said.

She said she believes some of the money she gave Taylor went to pay for a lavish first birthday party for Burch and Taylor’s son. The January 2016 soiree was attended by 150 people, including super model Cheryl Tiegs.

Weber’s 2018 lawsuit, seeking at least $1 million in damages, is still pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Burch told The Post she had nothing to do with Weber and Taylor’s deal and did not use the money for the birthday party.

Beth Morris, another L.A. accuser, says in a different lawsuit that she met Taylor — who called himself Brian — through a personal ad in 2012. It was, at first, casual, but he eventually professed his love and said he would mentor her in business, she claimed.

Christine Weber
Christine Weber fell for Taylor’s charm, like many before her.

Morris alleges Taylor scammed her out of $306,558 by asking for various loans and cash advances on her credit cards, including $11,500 to — strangely — buy an ambulance, according to her 2016 lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles.

“Ok babe this is what I need from you. I need $100,000,” he wrote in an 2014 email, included in court documents.

A month later Taylor wrote, “As my friend and lover I want to tell you that you have been a blessing to me and I’m moving to be closer to you so we can start enjoying life more.”

Instead of enjoying life, Morris had to drain her retirement funds to pay off the debt she incurred from the “serial predator,” court papers say.

She won a $342,774 judgment against Taylor, but told The Post she hasn’t seen a penny.

One of the payments Taylor asked Morris for in 2014 was $80,000 to go to the firm of famed LA criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos, court records show. But the cash was really to pay back $70,000 taken from Burch’s charity, The Good News Foundation, according to a source close to the newswoman.

Burch’s fellow board members turned on her in 2014, complaining to then California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office about her “misappropriation” of the non-profit’s assets, according to a 2015 letter sent to the AG from the non-profit’s lawyer. The letter notes the board “worked to have those funds returned” and the AG’s office decided it “would not pursue the matter.”

“This process was grueling, and the Board desires to wind down the Corporation,” the letter says. It seeks to dissolve the charity.

Bruce Taylor and Wendy Burch attend a luncheon in 2009.
Bruce Taylor and Wendy Burch attend a luncheon in 2009.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Taylor, 53, married someone else shortly before going to prison in 2016, but is now living with Burch in a $1 million condo in the Westwood neighborhood near UCLA, a source said.

Burch denied he lived with her and but said he was there “most days” to care for their son.

Burch admitted secretly giving Taylor the foundation’s money in 2012 claiming he was going to invest it for the group. She claimed it was a $1 million foundation, but tax records show its 2012 revenue was only $206,000.

Burch said she told Taylor to pay back the money in 2014 and did not know the source of the funds which were paid through a “client-attorney account.”

“Bruce Taylor is a person of questionable character,” Burch said. “I am not.”

Taylor told The Post that he “convinced Wendy I could provide steady returns for the foundation. That was, unfortunately, not the case and Wendy demanded the money be returned. I borrowed it from a friend and paid it back.”

“The only thing Wendy has ever done wrong was believe in me. I have sworn statements and depositions that she has never been complicit in anything I’ve ever done or profited in any way,” he said.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS: 0