In the beginning of August 2014, several reports were made to the Sheriff’s Office and other local area law enforcement agencies regarding a telephone scam where the suspects were posing as Sheriff’s Office employees, demanding money to clear arrest warrants for failing to appear for jury duty.
The suspect who had a male voice and spoke with a southern accent, told the victims that they needed to go to a store and purchase prepaid credit cards in the amounts of $1,000.00-$1,500.00 and give the card numbers to the officer to get the warrant cleared or they would be arrested. The suspect would remain on the phone with the victim until the cards were purchased and the victim read off the numbers.
The Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit has been actively investigating these cases. On Sunday, August 17, 2014, investigators tracked one of the cell phone numbers being used to Pelham, Georgia. When plotting the GPS coordinates of the calls we found that they were originating within or near the Jimmy Autry State Correctional Institute (prison).
Upon contact with federal, state and local officials in Georgia it was determined these telephone scams are originating from within the prison. Currently there is an investigation into the matter by Georgia state officials and the US Secret Service. Upon further research we found that this type of scam is not new to the Georgia State Correctional system. Dating back to the beginning of this year, these types of scams have been occurring within the prison system and victims span across eleven states. According to news outlets on the east coast, in May 2014, a Georgia Correctional Officer and an inmate were identified and arrested in connection with these types of cases.
The Sheriff’s Office urges anyone who receives these calls not to cooperate with the caller, record the number they called from and call your local law enforcement agency to file a report.
If you have any information regarding these recent cases please contact the Major Crimes Unit at the listed number or by email at MCU@co.shasta.ca.us.
– Press Release