A 41-year-old Jacksonville man was arrested after Nassau County investigators said he impersonated a Dish Network subcontractor.
William Gerhold is charged with seven counts of schemes to defraud and exploitation of an elderly person.
Deputies said he was impersonating the subcontractor for Dish and targeting its customers. They said Gerhold would approach individuals at their home claiming he was a representative for Dish Support Company, a subcontractor for Dish Network Satellite, trying to convince current Dish customers to upgrade their services, including any repairs for one year for about $900.
If they would sign a contract with him, then the next three months of their satellite service would be free.
Gerhold would tell the victims that they would continue to receive a monthly bill from Dish, but just to ignore it because the first three months would be free and it would be corrected in their billing department, deputies said.
They said after the victims would receive late payment bills and Dish Network advised that their service would be canceled for nonpayment, they contacted Dish Network directly and were informed the contract they signed was fraudulent and Dish never received any payment for satellite service or repair.
"There have been at least seven known individuals victimized so far in Nassau County, but the suspect stated there may be as many as 45," Sheriff Bill Leeper said. "So anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this scheme, please contact NCSO at 904-225-5174."
Deputies said Gerhold has also been arrested in Alachua and Columbia counties in connection with the same scheme.