PENNSYLVANIA, USA — A Mechanicsburg man is facing charges after he allegedly impersonated family members of the then-President of the United States on social media to fraudulently collect money from followers for a fake political organization.
Joshua Hall, 22, is facing wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges for his role in the incident.
According to the criminal complaint, Hall defrauded hundreds of victims by impersonating members of President Donald Trump's family, including the President's minor child, among others, through the creation and use of social media accounts bearing those likenesses.
Prosecutors say he impersonated President Trump's brother Robert. After Robert Trump died in August, he moved to Barron Trump.
Hall was able to amass over 100,000 followers on social media by making false representations in the course of raising funds for a fake political organization that was solely meant to support the reelection of President Trump.
However, according to the criminal complaint, the organization never existed and Hall used the funds for his own personal living expenses.
In total, officials say that Hall's scheme yielded thousands of dollars from hundreds of victims throughout the United States.
On June 8, Hall was arrested.
He was released on $25,000 bail after appearing in Harrisburg federal court.
The wire fraud charges Hall faces carry a maximum 20 years imprisonment, while aggravated identity theft charges come with a mandatory consecutive sentence of 2 years imprisonment.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said via press release, "Joshua Hall allegedly impersonated family members of the then-President of the United States on social media to fraudulently induce hundreds of victims to donate to a political organization that did not exist, and then pocketed those funds for his own use. We thank the FBI for their partnership in the investigation of this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr., said: “Hall led hundreds of people to believe they were donating to an organization that didn’t exist by pretending to be someone he wasn’t, as alleged. As we continue to investigate fraud in all its many forms, we urge the public to remain aware of the prevalence of online scams and exercise due diligence when making donations online.”