A nearly seven-year sentence was handed down this week to Scott Wolas. He's the man accused of bilking investors in a property in Quincy that he was trying to buy, formerly the Beachcomber nightclub. Fraud in that instance was not his only crime — Wolas has a long history when it comes to cons and deceptions. Reporter Erin Tiernan of the Patriot Ledger in Quincy has been following the story. She spoke with WGBH's All Things Considered Host Barbara Howard. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: So, Wolas’ criminal activity dates back two decades?

Erin Tiernan: A little more than two decades, back to 1997, in New York.

Howard: And he used lots of different aliases?

Tiernan: He did, at least a half dozen that we know of.

Howard: Tell us a little about the history of this man.

Tiernan: So it all started off in New York, in the mid-1990’s. An indictment caught up with him in about 1997. He had been working as a pretty high-powered attorney, when he actually was running a bogus liquor importing scam. When that indictment got handed down, he took off to Florida, where he first assumed the identity of his old college roommate. And from there he cycled through several different identities until he landed up in Quincy in 2009.

It's actually interesting how he ended up in Quincy. After he had left New York and was on the run down in Florida, he ended up divorcing his wife, and he met a woman from Quincy in 2001 on Yahoo Personals. And even though he was cycling through these different identities, he convinced her that he had been working in the Secret Service, and she somehow went along with that. And then by 2009, he ended up in Quincy.

Howard: Was his name still Scott Wolas?

Tiernan: At this point, he was going by Eugene Grathwohl, that was his alias.

Howard: So investors were giving him money at one point for a real estate deal. Talk about that.

Tiernan: He had been involved as a realtor, and he then started his own property development company. He had gotten involved with a property deal on the old Beachcomber nightclub, which was a one-time hotspot in Quincy that had been defunct for a few years, and a neighboring property. He had an idea of redeveloping those. So that's how he got the money from people.

Howard: Okay, so he was taking money from people as investors. But It sounds like a classic story of somebody who maybe has a gambling problem, or an addiction. He wasn't exactly investing it, right?

Tiernan: He wasn't.

Howard: Was he an addict or a gambler?

Tiernan: He was not. It's almost like he started out with the idea that he would follow through on these things. He put about $60,000 down initially. And as that closing date kept coming, he couldn't get the money together.

Howard: What was going on with the money? I thought he had the money.

Tiernan: He basically squandered the money. He spent almost $100,000 on stamps, rare books, and other collectibles on eBay. He spent $50,000 dining out in restaurants, another $600,000 in cash withdrawals that they have no idea where that money went.

Howard: He had this girlfriend. Was she aware of any of this?

Tiernan: Supposedly not. Police cleared her, and she never faced any charges.

Howard: So what happened next?

Tiernan: Everything came to a boiling point in 2016. He had at, this point, delayed the closing on the Beachcomber property more than 11 times, racking up $450,000 in penalties. He didn't have the $1 million more that he needed to close. So about a week before that final closing date, he had his girlfriend from Quincy drop him off at the JFK/UMass Red Line station. He never spoke to his girlfriend again, he cut off all communication with his investors, and he basically disappeared.

Howard: And that was in 2016.

Tiernan: That was in September 2016. So the authorities started investigating, and he resurfaced in Florida. His ex-wife had been living in Delray Beach, and it turned out that she had been helping him by booking Airbnb’s, paying for Ubers, and things like that.

Howard: How was he finally caught?

Tiernan: Just investigation by the FBI. They looked into some of his ex-wife's purchases, and they found that she had been lying about her contact with him.

Howard: Is she in trouble too?

Tiernan: She is. She was sentenced to probation earlier this year for lying to the FBI about knowing about his whereabouts and not saying that.

Howard: So how, finally, was he caught?

Tiernan: The FBI caught up with him at a condo that he was staying at in Delray Beach, and he pretty much spilled the beans right away. He admitted to FBI agents that he knew investors would be angry when he didn't have the money to finish the deals. And in his words, he said he knew everything was going to come down like a house of cards.

Howard: How much money are we talking about? How much money did people lose?

Tiernan: All in all, he stole about $2 million from people in Quincy.

Howard: How many people were involved? How many people were conned?

Tiernan: On the Quincy side, it's about 20 victims. He stole tens of millions back in New York City, involving a lot more investors.

Howard: The people who he victimized, do you have a sense of how much harm was done to them? Was this someone's life savings, for example?

Tiernan: In many cases it was. Depending on the individual, people invested anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 with this man.

Howard: Any chance they’ll see it again?

Tiernan: He was ordered to pay $2 million in restitution, but it's unclear whether he has all that money.

Howard: Did Wolas have anything to say for himself in court when he was sentenced on Monday?

Tiernan: He offered an apology to the victims. He quoted from Proverbs, and he said that he had lost his moral compass.

Howard: Thanks for joining us, Erin.

Tiernan: Thank you.

Howard: That’s Erin Tiernan, a reporter with the Patriot Ledger, out of Quincy, who's been following the case of con man Scott Wolas. This is WGBH’s All Things Considered.

This article has been updated.