Woman in Cottonwood hit by jail bail scam

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CAMP VERDE - The following is a release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On August 17, 2009, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a fraud report at Camp Verde Detention Center jail lobby. Deputies met with the employee of a restaurant in Cottonwood regarding the incident.

The employee explained she received a phone call at work from a person claiming he was an "Officer of the Court." He told her there was someone in jail she knew but he could only release the name of the employee if she identified the person first. She thought briefly and mentioned the name of an employee not currently at work. The man told her she was correct and claimed this person was in-custody for a DUI. She was also told that the arrestee had enough money for bail, but Arizona law did not permit arrestees to bail themselves out. The "Court Officer" requested the employee to post a bond and the arrestee would pay her back upon release.

The man told the employee how to use the "MoneyGram" system and she complied by sending $700.00 to a location in Largo, Florida. The employee went to the Camp Verde Detention center to pick-up the arrestee, but there was no record of the person in-custody. The employee eventually located the "arrestee" at home and determined none of the story was true. She immediately called "MoneyGram" and learned the money had not been claimed. She was provided a full refund.

Deputies contacted the "MoneyGram" office in Florida and asked a staff member to call the local police if anyone showed to obtain the $700.00. The staff person was unwilling to assist.

The YCSO Crime Prevention Office received a call this week from a Sedona resort security manager who related a similar situation involving one of their employees. No money was ever sent and the employee immediately contacted his supervisor.

YCSO would like to remind anyone receiving these types of calls to not engage in such a transaction unless you have verified the source. Obtain the persons full name and a call back number. It is easy to get caught up in the moment when you are convinced a friend or co-worker needs your help. Bail solicitations will never be initiated by court or law enforcement officials. Upon booking, prisoners are provided with a list of bail bond agents who are licensed to work in Arizona and thus there is no need to send money out of state.