Couple arrested in Dish Network impersonations

Nassau County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Anthony and Crystal Gerhold
Nassau County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Anthony and Crystal Gerhold

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Nassau County Sheriff's Office re-arrested a 41-year-old Jacksonville man on additional counts of schemes to defraud and exploitation of an elderly person in connection with Dish Network impersonations.

Deputies said Anthony Gerhold was impersonating a subcontractor for Dish Network Satellite Company and targeting Dish Network 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 for about $700-$900. If victims would sign a contract with him along with payment, 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 non-payment, 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.

Gerhold also would provide an 800 number to call if his customers/victims had any concerns or complaints, deputies said. They said Gerhold's wife, 31-year-old Crystal Gerhold, would disguise herself as the customer service representative further scheming and defrauding the individuals.

Anthony Gerhold bonded out of jail after his first arrest of seven counts of schemes to defraud and exploitation of an elderly person and failed to show for his court appearance.

After additional Nassau County victims came forward to make a report, a nationwide warrant was issued on June 27 for the arrest of both suspects. They were captured in Little Rock, Ark., on Friday. They were transported back to the Nassau County jail, where they were booked Thursday.

"These suspects came into Nassau County and took advantage of our most vulnerable, trustworthy and decent hard-working citizens with their slick fraudulent sales pitch. They need to learn a lesson that we won't tolerate it," said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.

There have been at least 33 known individuals victimized so far in Nassau County.

Lillius Cunningham was one of many people who fell for the scam, but she said she fell for it because the suspect was a great con-artist. She said he was friendly, personable and even went inside her home and sat on her couch.

Although she was angry when she found out she had lost $800 to a scammer, she said she really hopes people can pray for him because he needs help.

"He was so legit, he had a Dish logo on his car, has all the magnets, put magnets on my refrigerator, on the remote, had dish contracts, everything," Cunningham said.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this scheme should call the Sheriff's Office at 904-225-5174.