Scam

Wife of accused sex offender swindled out of $600, warns others

A Laurel woman who said she was blindsided by her husband’s arrest for sexual battery of children has now been the victim of a scam, and now she is warning others about it.

Sherry Parker, 65, lost $600 “that I couldn’t afford to lose,” she said, after someone who identified himself as a member of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department called and said she had missed a summons hearing to report for a court appearance. The man, who identified himself as “Capt. Anderson,” said she would be arrested if she didn’t follow his instructions to pay a fine. There is no Capt. Anderson with the JCSD, but Parker didn’t know that at the time.

“I was scared … I didn’t want to get arrested,” she said.

Parker talked to three different men, all of whom identified themselves as Jones County officials, and all of them made her feel like she would be arrested if she didn’t comply with their demands. She believed them because she did, in fact, have a summons to appear in court in the cases involving the claims against her husband. He is in jail after being accused of molesting girls that were at the daycare his wife ran in their home.

“These were professionals,” she said. “They told me to go to where they sell Green Dot cards … I said, ‘I don’t know what that is.’”

They told her to go to Kroger or Dollar General and get “two $300 reloadable cards, and make sure I get a stamped envelope,” Parker said.

So she drove to Kroger, went in with the assistance of her walker — which she has to use because of complications from diabetes — and asked for the cards.

“The lady at the service desk asked me what they were for,” and Parker said she explained it to her. “She said, ‘Please don’t do this. I feel like it’s a scam.’”

But Parker was convinced she would go to jail if she didn’t comply, and the men were even more convincing when they told her she could come to sheriff’s department and meet them.

“It was the weekend, so they knew no one would be there,” she said, and the number they gave was the JCSD number “that just went to an automated system.”

They gave her specific instructions for what number to dial if they got disconnected while talking.

She went to the JCSD and asked the man on the phone to come down and talk to her.

“He said he will have to arrest me if he comes down,” Parker said.

That time, she was talking to someone who identified himself as “Lt. Willie Graham,” and he pushed for her to add another $300 and a $100 card to what she had already sent them.

“I said, ‘I’m not doing that,’ and he said, ‘Judge James Brown is going to have to get woke up then,’” Parker said. There is no “Lt. Graham” at the JCSD or “Judge Brown” in Jones County Justice Court. 

“I said, ‘I think you are doing a scam, and it needs to stop,’” she said.

After Parker got her sister Clara Thornhill involved, a deputy and a Laurel police officer met them at the JCSD, and when one of them called back the number, the man hung up, Parker said.

“All three of them were as professional as could be,” Parker said, shaking her head.

Thornhill agreed, saying, “They really scared her. It angers me when she gets attacked. She’s vulnerable.But her, she has no anger. She’s in the Word of God every minute of the day.”

Because of how organized the trio of scam artists was, Parker said she came forward because “people need to know.” She said it was disturbing that they knew she had been summoned to court, which made her easy prey for the scam.

“I lost $600, which is a lot to me,” she said, “but I’ve heard of one getting scammed for $100,000 in something like this. Computers are going to be the ruin of everything.”

Despite the loss of the money in the scam they pulled on her, she doesn’t hold any ill will toward them.

“I prayed for these people,” she said, “and I just hope that they needed the money for fuel, or heat or food … I just pray that they used it the right way. I prayed for their soul. Anyone who could do something like this, their soul isn’t right, and they will have to pay the debt into eternity, and I don’t want that for anybody.”

Law enforcement and court officials have said repeatedly that they don’t use tactics like the ones Parker described in order to collect money. Call law enforcement to report any similar activity.

Roy Parker, 68, was charged with two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes in December 2017 and was out on bond, and he was charged with sexual battery of a 5-year-old family member last December. He is in the Jones County Adult Detention Facility on $75,000 bond now.

“She had no idea any of this was going on,” Thornhill said of her sister. “It’s been devastating.”

 

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