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Nassau County Sheriff's Office looking for Dish subcontractor impersonator

5:22 PM, Jul 1, 2013   |    comments
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HILLIARD, Fla. -- Joyce Dixon, is a caterer, a Dish network customer and now victim of a phony Dish network subcontractor scheme.

"This young man came out here, super nice fellow, and debundled our windstream package," said Dixon, "He did it all right here in the house we watched him."

The phony subcontractor, Anthony Gerhold, offered the Dixons an upgrade in Dish TV service if they paid in advance.

They paid $662.29 for a year's upgrade including any repairs and received an invoice showing they were paid until March 2014, but then they began getting bills from Dish Network.

"I'd call the 800 number on the card he gave me and he told me just to tear it up and throw it away," said Dixon, "He would take care of it."

Nassau County Sheriff's Office investigators said what Dixon didn't know is the that the person on the other end of the 800 number was Gerhold's wife, Crystal.

"When they would call that number, she would act like a customer care representative," said Sheriff Bill Leeper, "She was also in on the scheme so we are after her too."

Leeper said his office is now looking for Anthony and Crystal Gerhold.

"We have a warrant for both of them, if anyone seen them give us a call," said Leeper.

Leeper said over the weekend, the number of victims went from nine to 21 and there could be more

"It could be as much as 45 to 50 in our county alone," he said.

Leper said the Gerholds used a UPS store off Southside Boulevard as a business address to carry out the scheme in four other Florida counties and in Charlton County, Georgia.

"It really shocked both us that somebody could really do this to us," said Dixon.

Dixon said the Dish network impersonator was so good he could fool anyone.

"He was so very nice. When he gets out of jail, Dish could hire him because he will answer his phone," she said.

If you have any information about the Gerholds or if you believe your were a victim of this alleged fraud, contact the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.

Dish Network spokesperson Danielle Johnson said they will be happy to work with each victim on an individual basis.

"Dish takes allegations of third-party fraud involving the Dish brand very seriously," said Johnson.

She said it is not a Dish practice to call and request upfront payments.

How to protect yourself from service company impersonators:

-Before you allow them into your home, ask for a company ID card, and call the company to verify

-If they're suspicious, write down vehicle information, subject description and call the police.

First Coast News

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