Indictment Charges Georgia Man with Running Jury-Duty Scam That Extorted $200,000 from Victims
Prison inmates coordinated scam using contraband cell phones
SAVANNAH, GA: A federal grand jury indicted Decatur, Ga., resident Orenthial Walker, 42, this week on felony charges linked to a widespread scam in which victims were coerced to pay “fines” for failing to appear for non-existent federal jury duty.
Walker, a convicted felon, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in this interstate jury duty scam. Walker was arrested in Georgia in July 2018 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his role in a similar jury duty scam operated out of the Northern District of Alabama. In both cases, victims received calls from co-conspirators posing as members of the U.S. Marshals Service who claimed that the victims had failed to appear for jury duty. The victims were threatened with arrest if they failed to pay a “fine” through gift cards or via a money-transfer site. The investigation of both cases revealed that Georgia state prison inmates were behind this scam, using contraband cell phones to coordinate the operation from behind bars.
“This case not only highlights the potential damage to the integrity of the court system caused by such scams, but also serves as an example of the growing danger of contraband cell phones in the hands of prison inmates,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Federal agents will never call on the phone to demand money, and anyone receiving such a call should immediately report it to the police.”
“This case represents the determination of our agents to arrest the culprits behind these common scams, and an example that it is not fruitless for the public to report them,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office. “We ask the public to be more aware of these scams and to report them to law enforcement and file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.”
David Lyons, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Georgia, is available to comment on the issue of jury duty scams and can be reached at 912-652-4212.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
For any questions, please contact Barry Paschal at (912) 652-4422.