PITTSBURGH — A Georgia man is accused of posing as Allegheny County Sheriff’s deputies and stealing over $30,000 from two women in what police call an “expert witness warrant” scam.
Richard Wayne Long, 48, is facing charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and impersonating a public servant.
Investigators said that on July 13, a woman received a voicemail from someone claiming to be “Sgt. Gerald Hill” with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department. The person told the victim she had to call back regarding legal documents. The victim called back, and within 15 minutes, the person claiming to be Sgt. Gerald Hill returned her call.
During the call, the man told the victim she missed a court hearing where she was required to testify as an expert witness, and needed to pay two fines of $5,125 each or she would be taken to jail, according to police paperwork.
The woman was directed to bring the cash to Diane Tressa Bail Bonds Agency in Downtown Pittsburgh and park behind the agency on Cherry Way, where a man claiming to be a U.S. Marshal approached her car. Police said that when the victim asked for identification, the man became hostile and told her he would leave and she would go to jail. The victim ended up giving the man a total of $10,250, fearing she would be taken to jail, according to investigators.
After the victim paid the money, police said she received a pre-filled receipt and was told on the phone to go to the Allegheny County Courthouse on Grant Street so they could verify her signature and prove she did not sign the “expert witness subpoena.” The phone call then disconnected when she got there.
Another victim told detectives she was also contacted on July 13 by someone claiming to be “Sgt. Dave Lynch” with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department, according to court documents. The victim gave a similar story as the first victim, except she told police she met and exchanged cash twice with the man, which ended up totaling $20,125.
Investigators later identified the suspect in the scams as Long.
Detectives with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office identified the vehicle involved and tracked it to Georgia, where they took Long into custody.
Long is currently in the Gwinnett County Jail and is awaiting extradition to Allegheny County.
The investigation is ongoing as additional victims are being identified who may be linked to this case. Sheriff Kraus is requesting that any victims or witnesses who recognize Richard Wayne Long to please contact the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office at 412-350-4714.
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