The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office in Southern California held a press conference Monday announcing that a couple from the Loganville, Ga area has been identified in a scam whereby the two allegedly posed as members of law enforcement in order to scam residents. The department has so far managed to identify $16,000 that the couple was allegedly able to get in gift card funds from the victims.
According to Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office detective Chief Patrick Nelson, Nicolas Brady Kennedy and Ashley Marie Walker, both of Loganville, are accused of calling people by phone, mostly in Northern Los Angles County, and identifying themselves as members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. They advised the victims, many elderly, that there was a warrant out for their arrest for some type of infringement such as missing jury duty. The victim was advised it could be fixed, however, if they would purchase gift cards in a certain amount and give them the numbers. The calls appear to have been made between March and April of this year.
Nelson said that six out of nine victims identified so far had sent gift cards, some between $4,000 and $5,000 at a time. An email from a potential victim checking with the department kicked off an investigation that eventually led to Kennedy and Walker being identified as suspects. Kennedy is currently in Gwinnett County Jail without bond on felony probation violations as well as drug-related charges. According to jail records he was taken into custody in July. There are warrants on Walker, but at the time of the press conference earlier today she was not in custody.
Kennedy faces six counts of extortion and three counts of attempted extortion and Walker faces three counts of each, according to Nelson. The District Attorney’s Office said in the press conference that in these particular accounts they were just charged with extortion or attempted extortion as a particular deputy or member of law enforcement was not personally named in the call, although they did claim to be from the sheriff’s department. Nelson said they believe there are possibly other victims as well as other suspects. It is also possible that these suspects could be tied to other cases. Nelson said through search warrants and other investigative methods, the calls were traced back to the couple’s location in Georgia.
In the press conference officials with the LA County Sheriff’s Department said it appeared that the alleged scammers did extensive research to identify areas that had a higher concentration of the elderly to victimize. The elderly are usually more trusting and less likely to question the authority of law enforcement.
Locally, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office regularly warns of this type of scam. At the SALT TRIAD meetings in Loganville each month where the elderly are in attendance, officials always remind the attendees of this type of scam. On the Alcovy Judicial Circuit Court website there is currently a warning on this very type of scheme letting people know that the Walton County Sheriff’s Office or the District Attorney’s Office will not phone or ask for dot or green cards to settle a fine.
(Editor’s Note: An arrest or charge does not constitute a conviction.)