BAKERSFIELD (CBSLA.com) — Police on Thursday were asking for the community’s assistance in locating a suspect wanted for sexual battery by false pretenses, false impersonation, indecent exposure, and theft.
KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronikas reports Bakersfield police have been actively investigating similar purported incidents, whereby female victims have answered job postings from various Internet sites targeting the Los Angeles area.
The postings solicited females to work various positions as personal assistants, models, and actresses, police said.
The women who contacted Bakersfield Police officers to describe what had occurred ranged in age from between 20 and 53 years old and were from the cities of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Westlake and West Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, and the city of Orange in Orange County.
Female respondents to the job postings were contacted by a male who identified himself as an employee or talent scout for major television networks.
The suspect — who police identified as 45-year-old Anthony Augustus Jefferson — is last known to have resided at an address in Bakersfield but the suspect previously lived in West Los Angeles.
Jefferson utilized legitimate trademarks and employee names of major television networks as part of his illicit offenses. He also used email addresses that appear to be legitimate television networks and employment related forms with legitimate business trademarks, police said.
Jefferson convinced female victims to travel to Bakersfield in order to interview and audition for film industry related jobs that were supposed to occur in the Bakersfield area, according to police.
The suspect would meet the victims in local eating establishments or hotels. Through these cases, the suspect has obtained the victims’ personal identity information, has convinced them to use their own personal credit cards to purchase items under the false promise of reimbursement, or have been convinced to perform sexual acts under false pretense of job employment.
Specifically in two cases, the suspect asked the females to rent hotel rooms where auditions would be conducted.
He persuaded these victims, through false pretense of financial gains, employment, and the promise of meeting renowned actors to do various sexual acts with him as part of an audition for movie roles.
Jefferson was also able to swindle the victims of additional money for incidental expenditures and hotel room rental fees, police said.
An arrest warrant for Jefferson’s arrest was issued on charges of Sexual Battery by False Pretense, False Impersonation, Indecent Exposure, and petty theft.
The following are tips to assist persons using the internet to look for employment:
• Research the company and confirm it is a legitimate business;
• Do not provide your personal identifying information unless you are certain it is a legitimate business;
• Be cautious of meeting in hotel rooms, or other private locations, without first verifying the validity of the job and the full nature of the interview or audition.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111, or Detective Rodrigues at 661-326-3870.
You can also send an anonymous text message to the Bakersfield Police Department by entering 274637 into your phone and text “BPDCrimes” along with your message. The text is sent to the police department and the sender remains completely anonymous.
Tips can also be anonymously sent through the smart phone “tip submit” mobile App or via an online email system.