Chad Elliott is in custody awaiting trial on charges that he convinced women he met online that he was a wealthy businessman and used that persona to scam them out of money.
But he is having a difficult time persuading defense attorneys to remain on his case.
Elliott was in Judge Bruce Schroeder’s court Friday for a pretrial conference, which had been scheduled as a final hearing before Elliott’s case was expected to go to trial on Sept. 10. Instead, Elliott’s most recent defense attorney, Brett Ekes, asked Schroeder for permission to withdraw from the case, saying he had learned he had a conflict.
Ekes told the court he had learned since accepting the case in May that he has a personal conflict “involving someone both Mr. Elliott and I know” and that that would prevent him from vigorously defending Elliott. “If I had known about this I would not have accepted the case,” Ekes said.
Elliott objected, saying he felt Ekes could defend him.
“I have gone through four attorneys,” Elliott said. “It’s postponed this matter for an exorbitant amount of time.”
According to the court record, Elliott has actually had six attorneys withdraw from his case since he was initially charged in Kenosha County in January 2017. He has been in the custody of Kenosha County Jail since October 2017.
Schroeder said he was not happy about the delay, but granted Ekes’ motion to withdraw. The Kenosha County Public Defender’s office is now seeking another attorney to take the case.
Elliott was initially charged with theft in January, alleged to have stolen and sold jewelry taken from a Somers woman he had met through an online dating site.
The woman told police she had met a man named Chadwick DeTheir — later identified as Elliott — through the online dating site eHarmony in October 2016, and that he had presented himself as a divorced, wealthy corporate executive. They began dating, and she agreed to marry him, all the while thinking his name was Chadwick DeTheir.
During their relationship, he convinced her that his bank accounts had been hacked and his assets frozen, and asked to borrow cash to cover expenses and to have access to her credit card. In December 2016, he told her he had sold his home and needed a place to stay, moving into her apartment.
The woman became increasingly suspicious of “DeTheir” and reported him to police when her jewelry was stolen. His identity then became clear.
While he was out on bond for the January theft case, police learned that Elliott had convinced a second woman in McHenry County, Ill., that he was a wealthy businessman named Chadwick DeTheir and was also scamming her for money.
According to criminal complaints, the Somers woman alleges she was scammed out of more than $30,000 from Elliott while he lied about his identity. He is alleged to have defrauded the McHenry woman of $10,000.
Elliott is facing three separate felony cases in Kenosha County, including theft and theft by false representation, as well as bail jumping. He is also facing extradition to Ohio for criminal charges there when his Wisconsin cases are resolved.
For now, it is unclear when he will go to trial.
The Sept. 10 date that had been scheduled as a trial date is now set for a pretrial hearing as the court awaits appointment of a new defense attorney.