A Pennsylvania man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly pretending to be the family members of then-President Donald Trump for an illicit scheme to fraudulently raise funds for a fictitious political organization, prosecutors said.
Joshua Hall, 22, is charged with fraud and identity theft. He was arrested Tuesday morning and set to appear later in the day in Harrisburg federal court.
Prosecutors said Hall defrauded hundreds of victims by raising funds for a political group that didn’t exist. The group’s stated purpose was to get Trump reelected, but Hall allegedly used those funds for his own living expenses.
Hall impersonated Trump’s family members through social media accounts that bore their names and photographs, prosecutors said, and through these accounts Hall supposedly amassed more than 100,000 followers and obtained media coverage.
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The illicit scheme brought in thousands of dollars from hundreds of unwitting victims throughout the United States.
“Hall led hundreds of people to believe they were donating to an organization that didn’t exist by pretending to be someone he wasn’t, as alleged,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. said in a statement. “As we continue to investigate fraud in all its many forms, we urge the public to remain aware of the prevalence of online scams and exercise due diligence when making donations online.”
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If convicted, Hall faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge, and two years’ imprisonment for aggravated identity theft.
Online court records do not list an attorney who could speak on Hall’s behalf.