A woman was sentenced to 16 months jail time for her involvement in a fraud scheme that included posing as a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy and scamming six people out of $16,000 in gift cards, authorities said Thursday.
Ashley Marie Walker was convicted on Jan. 15 of attempted extortion and accessory after the fact for her role in assisting in multiple fraud attempts and destroying evidence after the primary suspect, Nicolas Brady Kennedy, was arrested, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday.
Walker, 28, and Kennedy, 29, both of Loganville, Georgia, made a series of phone calls posing as deputies and primarily targeting the elderly in northern L.A. County, sheriff’s Chief Patrick Nelson said at a news conference on Sept. 16.
The couple pressured victims into thinking there were warrants out for their arrest for failing to respond to a jury duty summons and demanded that they pay a fraudulent fine in the form of gift cards, officials said.
Six out of nine victims identified by the department complied with the scammers’ request and sent gift cards loaded with around $4,000 each, according to the chief.
The department launched an investigation after they received an email from an out-of-state victim who received a call from someone claiming to be an L.A. County sheriff’s deputy, saying he had failed to appear for jury duty and that there was a warrant for his arrest.
“The imposter lied about the jury summonses, and used a fraudulent sense of emergency and pressure to coerce hard-earned money from unsuspecting people,” the department said in a news release.
Walker was arrested Oct. 24 by Georgia authorities on an arrest warrant issued by the Superior Court of California, officials said. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department travelled to Georgia to pick up and transport Walker to the state on an extradition order, the department said. She was booked into a detention facility on Nov. 6.
Kennedy is currently incarcerated in Georgia on a probation violation and will be extradited to Los Angeles to face multiple extortion charges, officials said.
“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel will never ask for payment over the phone or by email,” department warned in a news release.