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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Wednesday September 25th, 2019 :: 04:20 p.m. PDT

Community

Social Media Scam Suspect Arrested

Nature of Incident: Social Media Scam Suspect Arrested

Report Number: 19-130755

Location: Ventura County

Date & Time: August 2019

Unit Responsible: Thousand Oaks Police Department Investigations Bureau

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent, City of Residence, Age

S- Davante Bell, Santa Monica, 25
V- Male Juvenile, Thousand Oaks, 17
V- Male Juvenile, Thousand Oaks, 17
V- Male Adult, Thousand Oaks, 19
V- Female Juvenile, Thousand Oaks, 16
V- Female JuvenileThousand Oaks, 17
V- Female Adult, Los Angeles, 19
V- Female Adult, Azuza, 21
V- Male Adult, West Covina, 20

Narrative:
A suspect, who used a social media application to scam several victims for money, has been arrested.

In August of 2019, several teenage victims in Thousand Oaks reported being victims of a check forgery scam.  The victims reported they believed they were cashing checks as a favor for a family member of a friend they followed on Instagram.
 
During a follow-up investigation, Financial Crimes Detectives from the Thousand Oaks Police Investigations Bureau determined the true identity of the suspect as Davante Bell.  Bell, who is a registered sex offender, is a resident of Santa Monica, CA. 
 
The investigation revealed Bell devised an elaborate scheme by using Instagram. Bell used his Instagram account to engage victims with the intent to obtain access to the victims’ Instagram account.   
 
Once Bell took control of a victim’s Instagram accounts, he posed as the account holder.  Bell used the victim’s Instagram account to communicate with the victims by sending direct messages asking for assistance with cashing a check.  When the victim’s agreed to cash the check, Bell would ask for and obtain the victim’s cell phone number to communicate further.  Bell told the victims that the account holder’s brother-in-law was going to meet them at their bank, with the checks. The brother-in-law was actually Bell. 
 
Bell provided the teenage victims with fraudulently obtained checks. Bell forged the checks and gave the checks to the unsuspecting teenage victims to cash at their bank.  Once the victim’s cashed the checks, they gave the funds to Bell who then drove away. The victims learned in the preceding days the checks were fraudulent and ultimately suffered a financial loss.
 
On September 19, 2019, Detectives from the Thousand Oaks Police Department Investigation Bureau arrested Bell at the Los Angeles County Probation Office in Santa Monica.  Bell was booked at the East County Jail on several counts of identity theft, unauthorized computer access with fraud, and forgery. Bell remains in custody. His bail was set at $250,000.00 bail.   
 
Any additional victims are encouraged to come forward and asked to call Detective Paul Ferruzza at 805-494-8231.
 
Prepared by: Detective Paul Ferruzza 

Media Release Date: September 24, 2019 

Media Follow-Up Contact: Detective Paul Ferruzza (805) 947-8286
paul.ferruzza@ventura.org  

Approved by: Captain Denise Sliva
 

 
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Address/Location
Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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