News releases and stories from NSO Times

Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme Targeting Navy Servicemembers

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Jessica D. Aber recently announced that the third co-conspiritor in a scheme to defraud Navy personnel out of money had pled guilty to having committed the crime. The details are contained in the news release below.

DOJ LogoA Newport News man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud Navy Federal Credit Union and its members out of money and property.

According to court documents, from approximately April to August 2021, Samari Smith, 20, conspired with at least four other people to commit credit union fraud by convincing account holders to withdraw and turnover funds to them under false pretenses. Smith and his coconspirators targeted sailors in the United States Navy on online dating applications like Tinder by posing as women interested in a romantic relationship. Smith and his co-conspirators asked the victimized Sailors to withdraw and turnover funds – often under the guise of helping a relative in the Navy who was trying to send them money.

Samari Smith was directly involved in defrauding four Sailors in the Navy who were then stationed in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, which caused more than $40,000 in fraud losses to these victims. Two co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty, including the leader of the conspiracy, Trequan Smith, 21, of Hampton and Emani Burton, 23, also of Hampton. The broader fraud conspiracy orchestrated by Trequan Smith victimized dozens of Sailors in the Navy and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraud loss.

Samari Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 27, 2023. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Trequan Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 32 years in prison. Burton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to a term of one day of incarceration and three years of supervised release.

Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Tira A. Hayward, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division; and Frederick Franks, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen accepted the plea.

This case was investigated under the leadership and coordination of the Newport News Financial Crimes Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Mack Coleman is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 4:22-cr- 56, 4:21-cr-67, and 4:21-cr-68.

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Scammers may pose as a variety of persons who interact on social media and whenever you are asked for money by someone you do not know, ignore the request and report the interaction.

If you believe you have been a victim of a scheme to defraud you, please report it the NSO Consumer Protection Unit at this link, https://norfolk-sheriff.com/fraudwatch.

 

Another message from someone posing as a NSO employee trying to scam the recipient

Phone Scam AlertWe recently shared a recorded voice mail that was left on a Norfolk resident's phone trying to convince the recipient to contact someone who claimed to be associated with the Norfolk Sheriff's Office. It's reasonable to assume that had this person called the number provided, the person on the other end of the line would have attempted to scam the recipient out of money.

Now, we've received another tip and audio file of a voice mail that's quite different from the previous one. We want to share it here to continue to provide guidance on the types of messages that scammers use.

You can hear the actual message HERE:

Although the message is garbled, here's the transcript of what the scammer said:

"This call is a documented call to records to schedule service of process and under federal law your attorney may be present. The preliminary hearing is set to take place with the motion filed. We do need to hear from you in the office at 757-664-9200. Schedule yourself accordingly and I wish you the best of luck."

The recipient of this message wisely did NOT call the number provided, but instead reported it to us. Presumably, if they had called the number back, the scammer would have tried to con them into sending money.

Note that this phone number has NO association with the Norfolk Sheriff's Office. As a reminder, you will never be contacted in this way by anyone associated with this agency. 

If you have received a call like this, DON'T CALL THEM BACK! Instead, please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.

File a Fraud Report

PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!!!

 

 

NSO Warns Public About Two Scams Reported by Residents

 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Media Contact: Jamie Bastas
 August 25, 2022
(757) 589-5692
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The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Consumer Protection Unit was recently alerted to two different phone scams that we wanted to make you aware of.

The first is a scam in which the caller is identifying themselves as working for the Virginia Sheriff’s Association (VSA) and is asking for donations on behalf of the VSA. Deputy Imprevento of the NSO Consumer Protection Unit spoke with the Executive Director of the Virginia Sheriff’s Association who confirmed this is a scam. The Virginia Sheriff’s Association will never fundraise in this fashion.

The second scam we have been notified of is a different variation of a phone scam we have seen multiple times. The scammer, a male who is calling from 757-665-8062, is contacting citizens and telling them they missed a court date and must pay a fine of $3500 for failing to appear in court. In the past the caller has identified himself as Lt. Snyder with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office. This time he identified himself as Lt. Reed with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office. We do not have a Lieutenant Reed on staff at the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office and that number is not associated with our organization. Furthermore, when we called the number and confronted the man who answered the phone and identified himself as “Lt. Reed with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Administration Building”, he abruptly hung up. As a reminder, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office will NEVER use a phone call to request money.

Please continue to remain vigilant about these scams and please don’t send any money to these callers. If you have been a victim of a scam or would like to report a scam, please report it the NSO Consumer Protection Unit at this link, https://norfolk-sheriff.com/fraudwatch.

 

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