BCSO investigation leads to jury duty scammers

Published 02/12 2016 01:24PM

Updated 02/12 2016 01:24PM

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Nearly 100 prisoners have been indicted and their cell phones taken away after an investigation in the "Jury Duty Scam" that began with the Bay County Sheriff's Office, according to a news release. 

BCSO conducted an investigation for the past year into complaints received by victims of the scam.

"Victims were contacted by phone, told they had missed jury duty, and, in order to avoid arrest, directed to pay a fine by purchasing Green Dot gift cards. The fines varied from several hundred dollars up to nine hundred dollars," the news release states.

Investigators with BCSO and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement obtained phone records that led them to Autry State Prison in Pelham, Georgia.

At that point and as part of a larger investigation the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the FBI requested the Bay County Sheriff's Office turn over case files involving complaints of the Jury Duty scam in Bay County to be used for possible prosecution purposes.

 According to Georgia law, it is unlawful to give an inmate a cell phone, or for an inmate to possess a cell phone.

Now nearly complete investigators seized cell phones from inside Georgia State prisons.

"Many of the seized cell phones possessed internet capabilities and the latest smart phone features and have been connected to the Jury Duty scam phone calls," officials wrote.

So far, 51 individuals have been indicted with an additional 41 indictments expected. The investigation by the GBI and the FBI continues.

In Bay County, complaints of the Jury Duty scam have dramatically decreased, officials wrote.

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