Florida man posing as Jefferson County Sheriff's Office employee pleads guilty to theft charges

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – A Florida man was arrested and pleaded guilty to theft charges. Attorney General Andy Beshear said Lemere D. Townsend, 28, of Orlando, Fla., is a con artist who scammed Kentuckians out of thousands of dollars.

Townsend pleaded guilty in Jefferson Circuit Court to two counts of theft by deception and was ordered to repay two victims nearly $10,000.

“I am thankful to the team of investigators and prosecutors who helped secure a guilty plea in this case and return the money stolen from the victims,” said Beshear. “While it is often very difficult to catch con artists, this case is proof that my office and local law enforcement are working together to find and hold accountable those willing to take advantage of Kentucky families.”

The charges were filed after an investigation into Townsend by the Office of the Attorney General. The office said they had received complaints regarding scams that occurred in February.  

Beshear’s office said they found in one instance Townsend pretended to be an employee of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and threatened to serve a local resident with a subpoena for credit card fraud. Following the threat, the resident deposited $4,989 into a bank account controlled by the defendant.

Beshear’s office has previously warned Kentuckians about reports of a sheriff’s deputy scam. This scam is popular among con artists who are willing to use scare tactics and threats in order to profit from their victim.

“The successful investigation and prosecution of this case gives us another opportunity to remind all our citizens that the sheriff’s office would never call anyone asking for money and if we have an arrest warrant to serve, it won’t be over the phone or through the mail; we’ll be knocking on the door,” said Jefferson County Sherriff John Aubrey.

Townsend’s second charge was filed after Beshear’s office found he had defrauded another Jefferson County resident. In this instance, Townsend pretended to be a representative from “Westgate Resorts,” and claimed the victim had a major credit card issue and would face a lawsuit unless they deposited $4,995 into a bank account linked to the defendant. 

The Office of the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney handled the prosecution of this case.

As part of the plea agreement, Townsend agreed to serve a five-year sentence for each crime, that will run simultaneously for a total of five years, to be probated for a period of five years or until restitution is paid in full.

Townsend’s formal sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30 in Jefferson Circuit Court at 9 a.m.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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