DANIA BEACH, Fla. – An accused multi-state scammer is facing 21 charges in Broward County after deputies say he pretended to work for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, bilking residents out of more than $50,000, officials said Thursday.
Raquan Hardy, 25, is currently in jail in Pittsburgh, facing similar charges in Pennsylvania.
BSO spokesperson Carey Codd said the investigation began in early September, after a phone scam surfaced involving a spoofed BSO courthouse phone number with an individual pretending to be a deputy.
“The scammer informed victims that there were active warrants for their arrest,” Codd said. “The scammer told victims that they needed to pay a surety bond in cash through a bail bond company to avoid arrest on outstanding charges. The arrest warrants did not exist.”
At least four victims fell prey to the scam, Codd said.
“BSO detectives received more than (20) reports from multiple individuals, mostly female medical professionals, who were contacted by the scammer in early September,” Codd said.
Detectives in BSO’s Dania Beach division and Public Corruption Unit opened an investigation and determined that similar crimes had taken place in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Codd said.
Detectives identified Hardy as a suspect and learned he was in South Florida days before the calls began. But, according to the sheriff’s office, by then, he had fled to Georgia.
Codd said deputies were able to track Hardy down to Texas, where authorities arrested him on a Pennsylvania arrest warrant following a traffic stop, extraditing him there afterward.
In Pennsylvania, authorities accuse Hardy and another man, 48-year-old Richard Long, of impersonating law enforcement officers and telling people they needed to pay fines for failing to appear in court as an “expert witness.”
Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE reports that the two are accused of stealing more than $40,000 from three victims.
After Long’s arrest, the station reported that the scam targeted health care workers.
In Broward County, Hardy’s charges include organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, impersonating a law enforcement officer, extortion and criminal use of personal identification information, the sheriff’s office said.
All told, those charges carry a $900,000 bond.
“Please be aware that BSO will never call you to ask for money or personal information, demand bond money or any form of payment,” Codd said. “If you receive this type of call, do not provide any personal information or money. Instead, immediately hang up and contact law enforcement.”