Jhiel Watson, 21, has been charged with defrauding elderly residents in Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri and Washington out of an estimated $98,000, Smyrna Police said.
Smyrna Police investigators have charged a Smyrna man in a phone and wire fraud scam involving multiple victims across the country.
In late February, Smyrna detectives were notified by the Sedona Police Department in Arizona about an elderly victim who had fallen for a phone scam resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars from his bank account. Sedona Police believed that the suspect committing the fraud resided in Smyrna.
While investigating, detectives became aware of additional victims of this fraud who resided in Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and Washington.
Detectives were able to identify Jhiel Watson, 21, of Smyrna, as the suspect.
Follow-up investigations with the assistance of multiple out-of-state police departments resulted in the discovery of over $98,000 in stolen funds from multiple victims.
Detectives have executed multiple search warrants and have been able to recover about $30,000 in stolen funds so far.
On Feb. 23, Watson was arrested and charged with five counts of theft over $1,500 in which the victim was 62 years of age or older, police said. He was arraigned by video court in Justice of the Peace Court 7 and committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $7,500 secured bond while awaiting a court appearance.
The investigation is continuing and additional victims and crimes are being discovered, police said.