COVINGTON — The Newton County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a College Park man in connection with a series of telephone scams of Newton County residents.
Rasheen Tramell Jones, 33, of 4410 Melanie Lane, College Park is being held at the Newton County Detention Center without bond and is facing charges of fraudulent telephone solicitation and impersonating a public officer or employee (police officer).
“More charges could follow. This case is still under investigation and is not closed by any means,” said NCSO Public Information Officer Cortney Morrison.
The Citizen wrote two stories in July when several reports came in to the NCSO from citizens complaining that someone had called them using the names of officers with the Sheriff’s Office and the Newton County Judicial System. Several reports involved elderly residents.
“The subject was allegedly calling citizens telling them a warrant would be issued for their arrest if they didn’t put money on a Green Dot Card, which is like a prepaid debit card,” Morrison explained. “The person calling would identify himself as a Newton County deputy and say things like, ‘You’ve been caught on camera speeding. You need to pay the fine with a Green Dot Card,’” she said. “The citizen would then go and buy a Green Dot Card for the amount he stipulated, usually several hundred dollars. Then the person would call the victim back to get the number on the Green Dot Card to access the money.”
Before the arrest was made, NCSO Capt. Keith Crum of the Criminal Investigations Division warned the public that any approach to them in this manner was definitely a fraud and said the NCSO was eager to put a stop to it.
“We do not have cameras set out at intersections, nor would we ever call someone up and tell them to buy a Green Dot Card. Any court fines would be paid at the courthouse. This is a complete scam and fraud. We want to make sure the public is aware that this is a criminal scheme.”
Morrison said investigators were able to develop enough evidence to arrest Jones through the cooperation of Green Dot Card. Officials with the company were able to say that the specific account numbers from the Green Dot Cards purchased for the purpose of paying the alleged fines by Newton County residents were transferred to a RushCard, another type of prepaid debit card.
“In tracking the RushCard, they found it was in Jones’ name and by looking at recent purchases made by that RushCard, they saw he had used it in Walmart in Union City and were able to obtain video footage of him using it,” Morrison said.
Warrants were issued and Jones was arrested without incident Tuesday.
Morrison said investigators are still looking into how and why Jones targeted the NCSO and the Newton County Judicial System, their employees and Newton County citizens.
“Hopefully, more of that will come to light as the investigation continues,” she said.