YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A now-former Georgia state corrections officer and prison inmate who authorities said ran a jury duty scam victimized two different Hackensack residents, a grand jury indictment alleges.
Clarinda Carter, 27, has remained held on $100,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail since waiving extradition last May 16.
An indictment returned last week says that they “did purposely and unlawfully obtain by extortion, property of [the victims] by purposely threatening to physically confine or restrain or imprison [them] and / or take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action.”
It says they also “did falsely pretend to hold a position as an officer or member or employee or agent of any organization or association of law enforcement officers with purpose to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority or otherwise to act in reliance upon that pretense.”
Their arrests followed an interstate manhunt led by Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino, who said the scammers called citizens in no fewer than a dozen states threatening arrests if fines weren’t paid for supposedly missing jury duty.
The callers — claiming to be with his department — told residents there were warrants for their arrests and offered them a chance to pay their purported fines by providing a credit card number and/or prepaid debit card.
The callers used throwaway cellphones with 201 area codes to make it look like they were in the Hackensack area, Saudino said.
The sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), along with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Hackensack Police Department, quickly identified Carter and Camp. They were then assisted by the Georgia Department of Corrections, Gwinnett County (GA) Sheriff’s Office, and Laurens County (GA) Sheriff’s Office, Saudino said.
“I applaud the detectives in our BCI unit for their diligence and hard work in tracking down the source of where these fraudulent calls were coming from,” he said.
The sheriff also reminded citizens: “No government agency will tell you to make payments to them through a bank or wire transfer.
“All notices regarding jury duty come through the mail, including summonses to report for jury duty, and failure to report for jury duty,” he added. “These notices are mailed directly from the New Jersey Judiciary Jury Management Office and give you specific information on who to contact, and how to comply with the summons.
“If you are being asked for your personal information from an unsolicited phone number, hang up immediately and notify your local authorities….[I]t does not hurt to take the time to verify these incidents with us.”
Anyone who believes they may also have been exposed to this or a similar type fraud is asked to contact either the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office at (201) 646-2222 , www.bergentip.com , or your local police department.
MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF
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