On August 12th, 2018, detectives began an investigation into a phone/internet scam that resulted in the victim losing more than $60,000.
According to the initial complaint, the victim was contacted randomly and the scammer identified themselves as a Retired FBI agent living and working in Nigeria. The first contact was in the fall of 2017 via the internet and then most of the future contacts were by text message. The scammer went on to convince the victim that they would be given $1,000,000, but needed assistance in paying U.S. taxes and fees from Nigeria.
Over the last six months, the victim was instructed to send various amounts of money ranging from $600 to $4000 to multiple people in various locations around the country. Detectives finally got the break they needed when one of the persons that was sent a wire transfer was identified as Scott Alan Romans, 64, of LaPorte, TX. Detectives contacted authorities in Texas for assistance and through their investigation, Romans was identified as a suspect that some of the money was going to, according to Capt. Tommy Carnline, spokesman for the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.
From their investigation, detectives were able to obtain evidence of Romans involvement and a warrant for his arrest was secured. The warrant was entered into the national database (NCIC) as Romans had already fled Texas.
On December 12, officers with the Gulfport Police Department stopped Romans for a traffic violation and during the stop, discovered Romans was wanted through the Rapides Sheriff’s Office.
On December 20, 2018, Romans was extradited back to Rapides Parish and booked into the Detention Center on theft $5000 to $25000.
“While this is highly unusual as most scammers can never be tracked, we are very pleased to finally put one of these criminals behind bars and hopefully end his career of taking people’s money,” said Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton. “It is just so unfortunate that many of our citizens, especially our older population, fall prey to these types of criminals. I want to commend our detectives for their persistence in this case as well as the LaPorte, TX Police Department and the Gulfport, MS Police Department for their outstanding assistance in this investigation.”
Law enforcement will never ask someone to pay money over the phone or internet, to resolve some sort of criminal charge or allegation, according to Carnline.