ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County police have arrested a man they say was impersonating public officials and extorting money.

Investigators have found the suspect, Christopher Jefferson, posing as a ‘Christopher Tate’ and other aliases, who charged with targeting Hispanic owned businesses.

In a press conference on Friday the Anne Arundel police chief posted the man’s picture along with a recovered fake ID the suspect allegedly made. They also showed photos of a uniform and badge the suspect supposedly wore when visiting the victimized businesses.

Police said Jefferson would pose as someone trying to get donations for TSI Trinity Syndicates Impact, which allegedly helped the Hispanic community. One victim told police Jefferson was trying to get the business to donate to a charity and in turn, he promised to get the business a tax break.

“The suspect would sometimes wear a bulletproof vest, a body camera, and a badge and would often claim that he works closely with the Anne Arundel County Police,” police said.

Other victims came forward and told police Jefferson was also identifying himself as a member of ICE and coercing them into giving money, according to police.

In exchange for the requested donations, the suspect would agree to perform licensing tasks on behalf of the business owner. As a result of this fraudulent activity, the suspect was able to extort tens of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting local business owners.

“We work so hard to make sure that this badge and patch bring positivity, calm to chaos, safety to violence, and service to everyone. That I’m having a hard time assimilating as I go through this thing, how a human being could do this,” said Chief Timothy Altomare.

Jefferson, 41, is charged with multiple counts of theft, impersonating a cop, identity fraud, having a fake government ID and having a police ballistic vest.

Here’s a list of the detailed charges:

  • Theft: $1,500 to Under $25,000 (2 cts.)
  • Fraud Id Info Thft $1500-<$25k (2 cts.)
  • Poss Bulletproof Armor
  • Impersonate Police Officer (4 cts.)
  • Possess/Use False Gov’t Id Doc
  • Fraud-Per. Ident. Avoid Pros

“I think it’s very important for everybody to understand, especially our immigrant community to understand, regardless of immigration status, that our police department is here to protect and serve,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman.

Police are hoping more victims come forward — if he took money from them of threatened them in any way.

 

Officials had the entire press conference translated into Spanish because they say they need to get this message out to the Hispanic community as well.

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