Last updated: August 31. 2014 4:33PM - 388 Views
By Scott Ballard District Attorney

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On Wednesday we took 54 cases to the grand jury in Fayette County. One of the grand jurors told me about a scam somebody attempted on her. I think I have discussed this particular scam before, but it won’t hurt to touch on it again.

She said a caller claimed that she had missed grand jury and needed to pay a fine. The caller was very convincing. He knew the name of the Clerk of Court. He knew the judge that is presiding over this grand jury.

The caller said that she was in very big trouble. She could make things much easier for herself if she came right then to meet the caller at a retail establishment.Then she could pay her fine with a green dot debit card.

The grand juror’s daughter was close by. She became suspicious and grabbed the phone.

“Would you be willing to repeat for me what you just told my Mom?” she asked. “I’ve got Scott Ballard on the line on a conference call.”

The scam artist hung up.

The grand juror reported the matter to the police, who told her there had been three similar complaints the previous day.

Please don’t fall for this.

It’s not the way we operate.

First of all, I have found our citizens to be remarkably faithful to report for jury duty. And the ones who don’t appear are addressed in a far more neighborly fashion.

The scam points to a deeper issue. What does it say about governmental abuse of power that a scam like this might succeed?

That concerns me. Any power that the government wields is entrusted to officials by the people. It should never be abused.

That’s why I recoiled at the news of a Texas prosecutor indicting a governor because he threatened to veto her funding. That smells like dirty politics to me.

That’s why I hate to hear that the IRS has targeted taxpayers with conservative beliefs.

Unfortunately, some government officials abuse their powers.

And making scams like the “you missed jury duty” scheme believable is only part of the reason the abuse needs to stop.

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