Louisiana Woman Pleads Guilty to Faking Her Own Kidnapping
Jackson, Miss. – Sharday Monique Thomas, 32, of Hammond, Louisiana, pled guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III, to one count of wire fraud for her scheme to fraudulently obtain money by faking her own kidnapping, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze.
On November 27, 2018, FBI Special Agents in Jackson, Mississippi, were contacted by FBI Agents in Monroe, Louisiana, regarding allegations that an individual by the name of Sharday Thomas had been kidnapped and would be killed if a ransom was not delivered to a location in Jackson, Mississippi. The purported kidnapper had contacted a former employer of Thomas by way of text messages from Thomas' cell phone. The text messages stated that Thomas was being held against her will and instructed the former employer to bring $4,500.00 cash to an address in Jackson or Thomas would be killed.
The text messages included specific threats such as, "No cops or she die," "I'm tired of waiting my trigger finger is itching," "Now or I'll blow her head off," and "I want my money now or she dies," among others. The former employer, who was also being assisted by the Louisiana State Police, requested proof of life and spoke to Thomas on two instances. Thomas told him that she would be killed if the ransom money was not delivered as instructed.
With the assistance of the FBI in New Orleans, FBI Special Agents in Jackson were able to determine that Thomas was actually at an address near the location in Jackson where the money was to be delivered. The agents located Thomas and quickly determined that she had not actually been kidnapped. Thomas was found in possession of the cell phone from which the phone calls and texts had been sent. After being advised of her rights, Thomas confessed to staging the kidnapping on her own and to sending text messages and phone calls in order to fraudulently obtain money from her former employer. Thomas consented to the search of her phone's contents, and agents observed the text message chain used to stage her kidnapping.
Thomas will be sentenced by Judge Jordan on April 18, 2019, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Louisiana State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dave Fulcher.