Mark Taylor
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The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating reports of out-of-town scam artists posing as local sheriff’s deputies and bilking local business owners out of thousands of dollars.
The scam has been going on for at least two years.
According to Tom Erickson, spokesperson for the sheriff’s department, the culprits have mostly been preying upon restaurants.
He said the scam artists usually call and ask to speak to the manager.
“The caller tells the manager they are with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and one of their employees has been arrested and is in jail,” Erickson said. “The caller usually has the name, the reason for the arrest and a very good description of the person they claim to need bail money for. They then request the manager wire money to bond their employees out of jail.”
Erickson said the culprits are believed to be out-of-towners because they request that the money be wired to a “specific place” outside the Johnson County area.
That makes tracing the stolen money difficult, Erickson said.
“With money wiring services, it is not always the easiest thing to track down who got the money in the end,” Erickson said.
Erickson said business owners should be suspicious of anyone who calls on behalf of the sheriff’s office requesting bail money.
He said the sheriff’s office “does not under any circumstances” request bond money from anyone.
Erickson said jail inmates are the only persons who request bond money.
Anyone receiving suspicious calls from someone claiming to represent the sheriff’s office and seeking bail money should find out as much information from the caller as they can and then call 911, he said.
Erickson said the two most recent scam attempts involved two businesses in Olathe.