JEFFERSON COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) — Officials with the Attorney General’s office said a Jefferson County inmate was the mastermind behind a jailhouse scam.
Investigators say 24-year-old Jebarius Neal, who is serving a 30-year-sentence for burglary and larceny charge, was offering inmates’ families a chance to secure early release for their loved ones by paying money into a fake State of Mississippi program.
“It made people believe that the system was corrupt, when it wasn’t. It was just a scam,” Attorney General Jim Hood said.
Neal is accused of calling the families using a smuggled phone. Authorities said he claimed to be several public officials. He offered to provided early release in exchange for payment.
Jackson, Miss.- A six-month long investigation into a prison scam led to the arrest of a Jefferson County jail inmate on charges of false pretense, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.
Neal allegedly arranged to have individuals meet the victim to pick up the money. AG Hood’s office said in one of the meetings, a victim, who paid money to have his father entered into the fraudulent program, videoed Neal’s co-conspirator picking up the money.
“We believe there are other victims out there who are scared to come forward. We’re not going to go after those victims because they really thought they were actually paying somebody off. I suspect they’re afraid of that, but I’d like to know how many victims there are,” Hood said.
37-year-old Tiffany McVane was also arrested as a co-conspirator. She’s accused of picking up $5,000 in cash from the victim.
If convicted, Neal and McVane face up to five years in prison on each count and up to a $10,000 fine per count.
If you have any information about the scam you can call the Attorney General’s Office at 1 (800) 281-4418.