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Pennsylvania man scammed more than 100,000 Trump supporters by posing as former president’s relatives on social media


Donald Trump with his son Barron in a file photo.

Photo: JIM WATSON / . / .

A man in Pennsylvania was charged Tuesday by federal authorities with creating bogus online accounts on behalf of former President Donald Trump’s brother and his youngest son Barron to receive illegal donations of thousands of dollars from Republican supporters in all the country.

Joshua Hall, 22, of Mechanicsburg, He was conditionally released after posting a $ 25,000 bond following a Harrisburg court appearance on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces up to 22 years in prison.

Fake accounts on social networks through political organization that did not exist

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the defendant created fake accounts on social networks to raise funds through a fictitious political organization.

“Joshua Hall allegedly He posed as members of the family of the then president of the United States on social media to fraudulently induce hundreds of victims to donate to a non-existent political organization, and then pocketed those funds for personal use. We thank the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) for their collaboration in investigating this case, and we remain dedicated to eradicating and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it, ”said Audrey Strauss, a Manhattan prosecutor.

The court documents in the case specify that Hall would have defrauded followers of the former president between September 2019 and last December, under the false argument that he was collecting funds for the magnate’s reelection.

Hall used image of Trump’s brother and son to advance fraudulent campaign

A central part of the scheme was based on the use of the image of Trump’s relatives on social media accounts.

Using photos of Barron and Trump’s brother Robert on the fake accounts, the man convinced more than 100,000 online followers that he was close to the Republican’s family.

In Robert’s case, Hall would have led users to believe that he supported his organization until his death last August.

Three days after his death, Hall created an account claiming that Trump’s 14-year-old son supported him.

They closed his account on a crowdfunding site

The defendant’s efforts to scam the victims increased in late July when he solicited donations through a crowdfunding site for events, merchandise and grassroots organization of the alleged pro-Trump entity.

The website closed the account after Hall was unable to explain last December how he used the funds he collected.

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