Scam artist gets prison time

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.15.57 PMA Florida man who defrauded numerous local residents about three years ago by posing as a Dish Network sales representative has gotten his comeuppance, thanks to the efforts of the offices of the Sheriff and State Attorney. Anthony W. Gerhold, 43, entered a plea of no contest to 17 counts of grand theft in the Jefferson County Courthouse on Monday, June 1, and was sentenced to 30 months in the Department of Corrections, to be followed by 90 months of felony probation. The court also ordered that Gerhold pay $14,830 in restitution to his victims as one of the conditions of probation. The sentence here is to be served concurrent with the sentences that Gerhold received in other counties where he pulled similar crimes. According to Assistant State Attorney Kyle W. Troop, who prosecuted the case here, Gerhold ran his scam for several months in 2012, using a forged Dish Network insignia and paperwork to impersonate a company sales representative and collect money from his victims. The way the scheme worked, Gerhold would tell his victims that if they paid some $900 upfront, they would get a discount on the service. Gerhold would actually set up equipment on the victims’ properties and initiate the service, using a false account. The service, however, would shut off after a couple of months. When the property owner called the “customer service” number to complaint about the cut-off service, the call would go to a cell phone that Gerhold controlled. He would then initiate the service again with the Dish Network for a couple of more months, using a stolen credit card to pay for the charge. Besides Jefferson, Gerhold pulled the same scheme in Nassau, Columbia, Bradford, Alachua, Marion and Suwannee counties. Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department were able to identify 14 of Gerhold’s local victims and positively link him to the crimes, according to the State Attorney’s Office. Following the disposition of the cases in other counties, Gerhold was extradited to Jefferson County and charged with 17 counts of grand theft relating to 14 separate cases and victims, according to the State Attorney’s Office. Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers presided over the case.