At $25,000 it was a steal. Literally.
Henry County police are asking the public to help them identify a suspect who they believe took the money from a Virginia man in a bogus wire transfer.
According to Captain Hillard Ireland, the suspect used the fake name “Jessica Randall” to set up the fake construction equipment company “Ideal States Services LLC” to sell the Virginia Beach man a Kubota excavator.
The man allegedly wired the money but never received the equipment.
Ireland said the woman set up a SunTrust bank account to receive the money. She then allegedly withdrew the money at a bank branch in Stockbridge using a fake driver’s license.
Police believe the woman is working with a male accompliace. A man reportedly contacted the victim to sell the excavator, while “Randall” was photographed withdrawing the money.
Ireland said theft by deception cases happen often, but not usually for such a large amount.
“This normally happens through websites like eBay, where someone may be trying to sell a cell phone or something. The victim sends the money before receiving the product, and never gets the product,” he said. “It’s not the norm to have $25,000 wired and stolen.”
Ireland said the woman actually registered the company with the state. The appearance of legitimacy, he said, likely contributed to the victim falling for the scam. The price, $25,000 for a machine than normally sells for close to $45,000, also likely motivated the intrigue.
“It takes some time to come up with the idea like this, but once someone does, they usually make a lot of money off it,” he said.
Scammers like “Randall” will often cash out from a fake business and may go to create a new business to continue the scam. Police are unsure if this is the first time the suspect has pulled the scam.
The woman faces charges for theft by deception, as well as other possible charges for using a fake identity.
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