By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
But Yaeger wasn't buying photocopier paper and mouse pads. He was using the cards to charge flights to Hawaii and Tahoe with his young boyfriends, to fund untold wining and dining -- and even to pay for two liposuction surgeries for himself.
Luckily for him, Yaeger's friends badly wanted into the world of trophy boys and glamour to which they thought he could provide access. Yaeger used his older friends' money to attract more boys, giving people like Steven Hildreth -- who at age 33 still tries to pass as a college-aged student -- more incentive to keep investing. Hildreth had to file for bankruptcy after Yaeger's indulgences brought the final total on his Visa and American Express balances to $118,000. "I was lonely and had no one to hang out with. I was depressed and vulnerable," Hildreth says now.
Sometimes, even the trophy boys became trapped in Yaeger's machinations. Most of them simply used Yaeger for his generous parties and trips, without having to give anything in return other than their attractive presence, which Yaeger then used to increase his own cachet. They were, in effect, arm charms. But for anyone in his mid-20s about to hit trophy boy retirement age -- because there will always be younger, cuter 19-year-olds -- the game changed.
When ex-boyfriend John Williams discovered bank and credit card statements that suggested Yaeger had stolen his identity, he called police. By this point, Yaeger's influence over his band of friends was waning, though he didn't give up in his attempts to guilt-trip them into silence. "You hurt me beyond belief by having me arrested," Yaeger wrote to Williams in an e-mail. "I don't know what possessed you to take the action you did. Someday you will find you regret it ... even through good times and bad, I never stopped loving you."
Now that Yaeger is in jail, he's not exactly apologizing to friends like Hildreth and ex-lovers like Williams, opting to portray himself as a victim, too. "It's not that Steven never benefited from my crimes and my life," Yaeger says. "Yeah, I did some stuff against him, but not to hurt him. I was good to him. I took him on trips and spent a fortune on him. All through our friendship, he rode on my wing."
Says Yaeger of Williams: "John is the one who turned me in. But when I went out of his life, his life went downhill and he blames me for it. He was never willing to be the person I needed. He didn't love me as much as I loved him."
Lamenting his birthday in the L.A. County Jail, where he hates the food, Yaeger says he doesn't deserve what's happened to him. In fact, he puts much of the blame on a psychic he frequented while living in Los Angeles. "Nancy," he says, turned out to be a witch who cast a spell on him. "It may sound far-fetched, but I swear, ever since I started seeing her no matter what I touch goes bad. She got me to do things I wouldn't have remotely done before. It's like my mind wasn't thinking," he says. "I'm not claiming I'm innocent. There are just extenuating circumstances with my crimes that people don't understand."
A pacifier rolls across the back seat of Chris Seguy's car as he turns the corner on his way to work as an administrative assistant at a San Jose credit union. Seguy was out clubbing until 4 o'clock the night before. "I love E!" he says, referring to Ecstasy, which sometimes requires him to use the fluorescent green pacifier to soothe his heightened senses. (At raves, club kids often wear the baby utensil on a necklace.)
If the thin blonde hadn't met Yaeger in an AOL chat room -- where Yaeger used the handle "BoyzsR4ME" -- they might have met at an 18-and-over nightclub like "Faith" in San Francisco or the now-closed "JR's" in Walnut Creek. For a while, thanks to Yaeger, Seguy's nightlife didn't have to be interrupted by a boring credit union job. Yaeger recruited the 21-year-old -- one of his last trophy boys -- to work for his Internet venture, offering free rent in his Old Adobe house. "It felt like he wanted to hire me because I was cute," Seguy says. "But I was excited because I love computers."
Seguy and his boyfriend, Kenn Sugiyama, whom Yaeger also hired, found there wasn't much of a workload on Old Adobe Road. They were supposed to be customer service representatives. But when people called to complain that they couldn't dial into the Internet via Priority Web, there wasn't much either Seguy or Sugiyama could do. So they stopped answering the phone, especially as the callers became increasingly irate. Yaeger hadn't paid them anyway. But they didn't need any income. Everything they wanted -- food, a place to sleep, drugs -- was already provided. "It was a party pretty much every night," 21-year-old Sugiyama says.
"Most of our friends are cute, so he wanted us around to attract those people to the crowd," Seguy says. "He wanted to have his little sugar boys, but I can't imagine why anyone would get near him or want to touch him, except for the money."