NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Orleans Parish Criminal Court officials are warning people about a jury duty scam.
Both Criminal and Civil courts have have been contacted by several residents who said they received calls from someone claiming to be a representative from the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office. The caller is asking residents for money in exchange for removing a court-issued warrant for failing to appear for jury service.
Civil District Court released the following statement:
"The Court has received several phone calls from the public about a man who identifies himself as Deputy Sheriff Mark Bowman who tells people that they have failed to report for jury duty at Civil District Court between July 31st and August 17th. He further states that a judge has signed off on an order for them to pay a certain amount of money to resolve the matter. He then asks for their credit card information to make payment or they will be arrested within 24 hours. Callers have told The Court he asks for random amounts of money ranging from 895 to 2800 dollars.
"Orleans Parish Civil District Court wants the public to know that this is a scam. The Court summons those who fail to report for jury duty. The Court does not demand money over the phone. Anyone receiving such calls should never give out their personal information and should hang up. The public should know that the scammer is also targeting jurors at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. The New Orleans Police Department is investigating."
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman released the following statement:
"Approximately 24 hours ago, the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office (OPSO) was alerted to an individual, allegedly posing as a Sheriff's Office employee. This individual is contacting citizens claiming they missed jury duty in an attempt to extort money from them. The Sheriff's Office immediately launched an investigation in cooperation with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and Orleans Parish Criminal Court. At this time, we believe that no Sheriff's Office employees are involved in this criminal activity.
"Since this matter remains an active investigation, we are unable to release further details at this time."
The Sheriff's Office wants to let the public know that if they are contacted by an individual claiming to be from the Sheriff's Office, they should not, under any circumstances, participate in any conversation or activity related to paying money in exchange for getting out of jury duty. If you receive a call, please contact the NOPD immediately at (504) 658-6010."
Anyone who may have been a victim of this scam is asked to report it to the First Police District at (504) 658-6010.
Potential jurors who have received a summons and would like to verify its authenticity can call the Orleans Parish Jury Commission Office at (504) 658-9200.