Investigators with the Smyrna Police Department (SPD) have charged a local man for an elaborate phone and wire fraud scam involving multiple victims across the country, according to authorities.
Officials said in late February, SPD Detectives were notified by the Sedona, Arizona Police Department of an elderly victim in their jurisdiction who had fallen for a phone scam resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars from his bank account.
It was believed that the suspect committing this fraud resided in Smyrna, officials said. While investigating this incident, detectives became aware of additional victims of this fraud who resided in Alabama, Missouri, Washington and Illinois.
Detectives were able to identify Jhiel Watson, 21, of Smyrna as the suspect, officials said. A Follow-up investigation with the assistance of multiple out of state police departments resulted in the discovery of over $98,000 in stolen funds from multiple victims.
Detectives have executed multiple search warrants and thus far have been able to recover approximately $30,000 in stolen funds, according to police. This investigation remains active and on-going and additional victims/crimes are being discovered.
On 2/23/19 Watson was arrested and charged with 5 counts of Theft over $1500, Victim 62 years of age or older. He was arraigned via video court in JP #7 and committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $7,500 secured bond. More information about this incident may be released as the investigation progresses, police said.