A teenager set up an elaborate online business scheme to try to steal more than $20 million from the state of Georgia, reports Channel 2 Action News.
Charles Turner, 18, was arrested Thursday morning. He was waiting on a paper check from the State Department of Revenue, per arrangements he unknowingly made with undercover agents.
Last month, a warrant was issued for Turner after he managed to walk away from a SunTrust Bank with $18,000 in cash using a fraudulent check. He also reportedly faced a financial fraud arrest in January out of Fulton County.
According to the outlet, Turner established an online electronics business in 2017 called Riverdale X. It was designed to sell Amazon products for an upcharge, but according to investigators all customers got in exchange was compromised bank accounts.
“He told us that he was using a website that would collect payment information and that he was able to get the routing and account and banking information from that website and then use that information to make payments to us, along with his car payment and other payments, as well,” Josh Waites, an investigator with the Georgia Department of Revenue told the outlet.
About three weeks ago, Waites said the DOR began to notice a pattern in how much money Turner was paying the state and how much was being reversed due to fraudulent accounts and insufficient funds.
“He actually set up a business, set up withholding accounts and sales tax accounts and was overpaying by more than $25 million onto those accounts and then requesting refunds for those same amounts to be returned back to him in his personal checking account,” Waites explained.
This week, Turner unknowingly communicated with an investigator posing as a state account manager via email. He told the investigator he was in the United Kingdom, but his accountant would be able to sign for a state return at his business address.
The address led investigators to Turner’s Riverdale home, where he was arrested.
The ongoing state investigation will focus on how many potential online victims were compromised doing business with Turner, as well as his alleged attempts to access state funds.
“Unfortunately, in the past, we’ve seen people younger than him, from all walks of life, just not to this extent,” Waites said, referring to the nature of the investigation. “We did not lose any money in this scheme, which is a testament to the hard work of the people in the department.