The story that John Ryall offered about the $14,000 cash and eight credit cards in his hotel room, and the plastic bags filled with chemicals in his sports utility vehicle sounded hard to believe to police.
His grandma gave him the money to start a chemical research company, Ryall told Bensalem police earlier this month after they showed up at a Route 1 hotel room where he was staying with a woman whom police say had an outstanding arrest warrant.
The 2 kilograms of white powder and nearly 250 gel capsules in his SUV were used to make drugs to treat erectile dysfunction and an anti-estrogen pill, he allegedly told them. The credit and debit cards were given to him by friends, Ryall claimed.
Bensalem police say parts of Ryall’s claims were true, but there is far more to the story.
Now, Ryall, 34, and Jennifer Claherty, 35, both from Palmyra, Pa., are facing charges of receiving stolen property and multiple counts of identity theft, conspiracy and access device crimes.
Police say their investigation began May 3 after a tip that Claherty could be found at the Route 1 motel. She had an active arrest warrant out of Scranton, where she was wanted on charges of receiving stolen property and conspiracy, according to online court records
At the motel, police found Claherty and Ryall, as well as the debit and credit cards, which were not in either of their names, $14,016 cash, and 41 unidentified yellow capsules in the room, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Ryall claimed the money was part of a $17,000 lawsuit settlement and the pills were from his chemical research company, police said.
After police arrested Claherty on the warrant, they said they found a Social Security card and change of address card in different women’s names in her belongings. The change of address card was in the name of Ryall’s grandmother, Edna Navratil.
Later, in a police interview, Ryall changed his story about the money, claiming it was part of a $17,200 gift from Navratil to help start his new chemical research business, according to the affidavit. Ryall also admitted he paid four people $100 apiece to take out credit cards in their names and he used those cards as well as the Social Security card found in Claherty’s belongings, according to the affidavit.
And those yellow capsules?
Ryall said he made them with chemicals bought from China to produce effects similar to Viagra, and an anti-estrogen used by anabolic steroid users, according to court papers.
At first Ryall’s story seemed to check out, police said. Claherty confirmed it, they added. Navratil also confirmed she gave Ryall $15,000 to $20,000, according to police.
But as the investigation progressed, the story started disintegrating, police said. They added that the money was likely stolen from a man whom Ryall claimed was a former business partner. That man’s name was on debit and credit cards in the motel room, police added.
Police said they also learned that Navratil was arrested April 30 for attempting to pass a fraudulent check for $6,600 from an account listed for a business owned by Ryall’s former partner. She also allegedly passed four other bad checks, totaling more than $31,000, through the same man’s account at other banks.
The chemicals that police found in the SUV — Tamoxifen and Tadalafil — are used for treating breast cancer and erectile dysfunction, but both require a doctor’s prescription, and a license to distribute and manufacture, police said. Claherty and Ryall don’t have either, court papers show.
Police also discovered that the Social Security card in Claherty’s possession was reported stolen years ago.
Ryall was arraigned Wednesday before Bensalem Judge Joseph Falcone on receiving stolen property and multiple counts of identity theft and access device crimes. He was sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $250,000 bail. Claherty was arraigned earlier this month on similar charges and is free on $50,000 unsecured bail.