An imposter who pretended to be a deputy sheriff working for Los Angeles County stole thousands of dollars from a number of different victims throughout the months of March and April 2019.
The impersonator made phone calls to locals, telling them that he was a deputy sheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), and asked that they pay a fine for not responding to a jury duty summons when they were contacted by the department.
Gift cards were used as the method of payment for the fine because the victims feared being imprisoned. To tell the truth, the imposter lied about the jury summonses and exploited a false feeling of urgency and pressure to compel people, many of whom were elderly, into giving him their hard-earned money.
After receiving several reports that shared similar features, detectives from the Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau’s Emerging Cyber Trends section were given the task of investigating the criminal spree.
As the investigation went on, it became abundantly evident that the imposter had employed a sophisticated set of methods to mask his whereabouts and identity. These methods included the use of spoof telephone numbers and the adoption of the names of actual LASD officials.
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Nicolas Brady Kennedy, age 29, from the city of Loganville in Georgia was named as the suspect by the detectives. They traveled to Georgia, where they collaborated with investigators from the Loganville Police Department and the United States Marshalls Service to acquire a search warrant for the suspect’s apartment and then serve it.
During the process of serving the warrant, the suspect, as well as further evidence, and a second suspect, Ashley Marie Walker, 28, from Loganville, Georgia, were found.
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By order of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Kennedy was charged with seven counts of extortion, in accordance with Section 518 of the California Criminal Code, as well as three charges of attempted extortion, in accordance with Sections 664 and 518 of the same code.
A probation hold has been placed on Kennedy, and she is currently being held at the Gwinnett County Prison in Georgia until she can be extradited to California.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Walker for three counts of extortion, in accordance with Section 518 of the California Criminal Code, as well as three counts of attempted extortion, in accordance with Sections 664 and 518 of the same code. At this time, Walker is not being held in custody. It was decided to issue a warrant for her arrest.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva made the announcement on the inquiry at a press conference that was held on Monday, September 16, 2019.
Chief Pat Nelson provided an overview of the investigation and discussed various strategies for protecting oneself from falling for similar cons. He stated that “the primary focus…is to ensure that we try our best to avoid additional victims.” To begin, it would be far more beneficial if we were able to notify the general people about the potential risk.
Do not comply with a demand for payment that you receive from someone portraying themselves as a deputy sheriff or another employee of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department via the phone, email, or any other means of communication, to be made in any form for any reason.
If you receive such a demand, you should ignore it. Personnel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will never request payment over the phone or by email.
Get in touch with the authorities in your area if you have reason to believe that you were the target of a crime of this nature and file a report about the incident.