Monroe County Sheriff Department makes four arrests in major multi-state scamming operation
ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) – Friday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department announced four arrests resulting from a six-month investigation into a major scamming operation that spans multiple states.
Christopher “Big Money Bunny” Bradley is charged with nine counts of felony false pretense, Janiqua Edmond and Shaquayne Ware are both charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, and Antoine Griffin Jr. is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and two counts of felony false pretense.
But the sheriff says this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook says these scamming groups have swindled victims out of over $1 million worth of property across at least eight states (Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, California, Michigan, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee).
“These guys are good at what they’re doing,” Sheriff Crook says. “They’ve been doing it for a while, they were trained to do this, they’re training other people to do it.”
Sheriff Crook says the investigation started back in December 2021 after a business in Monroe County reported a series of fraudulent purchases over two months that added up to about $400,000.
“As we keep digging in and as we keep making arrests on this person or that person, the more details that spill out,” he says.
Throughout the investigation, the sheriff says they learned there are three different groups in Monroe County that are using Facebook to find someone selling a motorcycle, four-wheeler or similar vehicle, and then buying them using money from a stolen bank account.
“At some point, we began to see this thing was reaching across state lines and we reached out to the FBI (and other law enforcement agencies) and they have been helpful to us,” he says.
The sheriff’s department estimates that the three scamming groups have acquired 50 to 60 vehicles through their scamming operations over a period of two to three years.
The sheriff says these scammers often reach out to victims using a fake Facebook account that appears legitimate.
“They’re paying it off with somebody else’s money and then taking possession of it,” Sheriff Crook says. “People are waiting two or three days and hearing from their dealership or financial company that the money’s there, it’s good.”
Only for the bank to flag the fraudulent activity and cancel the transaction after the victim has already given the scammers their vehicle.
“These are our people ripping people off all over the United States and these people have a right to be angry,” Sheriff Crook says.
Sheriff Crook says anyone looking to complete a transaction that began over Facebook should take extra precautions.
“Make them identify themselves as much as possible and make them meet you somewhere there are cameras,” he recommends. “Or even better yet, at your local police or sheriff’s department.”
Sheriff Crook says this is an ongoing investigation and expects more arrests to follow.
He says that anyone who thinks they might have been targeted by this scam should call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department: (662) 369-2468.