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Tampa man scammed more than $80,000 from victims in at least 9 states: Sheriff

Posted at 9:21 AM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 18:21:59-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The sheriff's office arrested a man in Tampa on Thursday who they say scammed more than $80,000 from victims in at least nine states, including Florida.

Dontavius Oakley, 35, was caught after authorities say he scammed an elderly person in New Jersey. Deputies say Oakley called the victim and told them they had a virus on their computer and then offered to help them remove it. The victim was sending Oakley money through FedEx, but authorities say they called their local authorities when they realized it was a scam.

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The sheriff's office says they don't know how Oakley found or identified the victims at this time.

“I think a lot of our elderly feel embarrassed, they’ve been taken advantage of so they don’t come forward," said Chronister.

The sheriff's office says after they received a tip about the fraud, detectives intercepted the victim's packages before they reached Oakley.

Chronister also thanked the New Jersey victim who called police immediately after realizing he'd sent $11,000 to a scammer. Chronister says it thanks to him, in part, HCSO started this investigation.

Investigators also found several other packages addressed to Oakley that contained money from victims in Hillsborough County, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon and Texas.

Detectives say they recovered nine packages containing $81,000 in cash from potential victims. They are working to identify another eight victims.

Undercover detectives delivered some of the packages to the Rodeway Inn Motel on Highway 301 in an attempted to catch the suspect. Oakley was arrested during a traffic stop after leaving the motel, the sheriff's office says.

“I mean it’s crazy it really is," said Tyler Weir, who is staying at the motel off 301. "Taking advantage of old people is just really wrong and it’s immoral and stupid really.”

The sheriff's office says Carlton Thomas, 50, left the motel with the suspect. He was arrested for an out-of-state warrant in New Jersey. Deputies say he was also driving with a counterfeit driver's license.

The New Jersey victim was reunited with his $11,000. The sheriff's office says it is working with FedEx to flag any other packages arriving for Oakley.

If anyone has been contacted by Dontavius Oakley, also known as Don Pazious, or Carlton Thomas in order to resolve a computer virus or other fraud, please contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.