A police impersonator targeted Hispanic businesses, soliciting donations for charity and pocketing tens of thousands of dollars, Anne Arundel County police said.
Christopher Jefferson used the name Christopher Tate and used a badge and photo ID to introduce himself to his victims, police said.
“In the county, there’s some cash businesses, right? So, very easy to show up to a business that deals predominantly with cash that might have fear going on of authority, anyway, and take advantage of that,” Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said.
He would promise them special business permits or tax deductions in return for thousands of dollars in donations that would go toward Christmas gifts for low income families, an actual fundraising event that the Anne Arundel Police Department hosts.
“So Tate was using these public events and taking pictures with officers and public officials at community events, then showing them to these business owners to try to legitimize his scheme that he was running,” Sgt. Jaclyn Davis said.
Jefferson faces several criminal charges, including theft within the sum of $25,000, impersonation of a police officer and extortion.
Two victims have accused Jefferson, but police believe there may be dozens more.