Phony justice of the peace arrested for performing weddings

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SEDONA -- The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On March 24, 2009, 41-year-old Sedona resident Allen Elfman was arrested by Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Detectives for several criminal charges including Fraudulent Schemes. Detectives, working with investigators from the Yavapai County Attorney's Office, developed information that Elfman had married several couples while portraying himself as a licensed "Justice of the Peace," when in fact he never held such a position and no authority to do so.

The investigation began when YCSO Detectives and County Attorney Investigators discovered that Elfman had performed marriage ceremonies for at least two couples between September of 2007 and September of 2008. In each case, Elfman purported himself as a "Justice of the Peace" elected in the State of Arizona. Fees for this service ranged from $250.00 to $650.00 dollars. Elman posted wedding videos on the internet which showed him signing a marriage certificate in one ceremony and another video has Elfman explaining the State of Arizona authorized him to perform these ceremonies.

Elfman hosts a website that still indicates he provides legal services, including those as a "Justice of the Peace." Since the investigation began, detectives have contacted and confirmed at least 4 victim couples whom Elfman married under the hoax. In some cases, marriage certificates had been filed with the County Clerk of the Court signed by Elfman. After contacting Elfman, he admitted to conducting some ceremonies as a "Justice of the Peace" claiming he was authorized based on credentials obtained on-line from the Universal Life Church. Detectives expect to identify additional victims as the investigation continues.

Elfman was booked at the Camp Verde Detention for Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Forgery, Criminal Impersonation, Impersonating a Public Servant, Tampering with a Public Record and Theft. Elfman remains in-custody pending an initial court appearance today.

Detectives are seeking any additional persons who may have had contact with Elman while he represented himself as a "Justice of the Peace." Those with information are encouraged to contact YCSO Detective Theresa Kennedy at 928-771-3260 or County Attorney Investigator Randy Schmidt at 928-771-3344.