A MAN allegedly impersonated Donald Trump and members of the then-President’s family to dupe unsuspecting supporters out of thousands of dollars.
Joshua Hall, of Pennsylvania, faces federal charges of fraud and identity theft after reportedly amassing more than 100,000 online followers to fund a fake re-election organization.
A man has been accused of impersonating Donald Trump and his family to dupe hundreds of Americans out of thousands of dollars[/caption]
Joshua Hall allegedly pretended to be Trump’s youngest son Barron, right[/caption]
The 22-year-old is accused of impersonating Trump’s relatives – including his teenage son Barron – for phony online endorsements for more than a year.
Hall is reported to have raised thousands of dollars worth of funds in a fictitious fundraising operation – which he then used for his own personal living expenses, according to the criminal complaint.
Federal prosecutors say Hall ran the scheme from at least September 2019 until December 2020 and “yielded thousands of dollars from hundreds of victims” from throughout the US.
In one instance, Hall allegedly impersonated Barron, 15, to falsely claim he was a “friend and partner” of the President.
According to the FBI, another of the fake posts read: “Josh is an amazing patriot who is doing tremendous things for our great country.
In a five-page complaint, Hall is accused of impersonating Trump’s family members[/caption]
“He has my COMPLETE AND TOTAL ENDORSEMENT!”
Hall also created a number of social media accounts “bearing family members’ names and photographs”, prosecutors say.
Last July, he allegedly launched a crowdfunding website – claiming to be collecting donations for “field organizing, events, and merchandise” and that he “hadn’t seen a dime of that money personally”, the federal complaint said.
But according to prosecutors, he pocketed the money instead.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said: “Hall led hundreds of people to believe they were donating to an organization that didn’t exist by pretending to be someone he wasn’t, as alleged.
“As we continue to investigate fraud in all its many forms, we urge the public to remain aware of the prevalence of online scams and exercise due diligence when making donations online.”
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Hall, of Mechanicsburg, faces up to 22 years in jail after being charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Joshua Hall allegedly impersonated family members of the then-President of the United States on social media to fraudulently induce hundreds of victims to donate to a political organization that did not exist, and then pocketed those funds for his own use.
“We thank the FBI for their partnership in the investigation of this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.”