Jury duty phone scam prevented with help from judge

Posted at 7:33 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 19:33:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis woman almost fell victim to a phone scam until she obtained a piece of information that prevented her from paying nearly thousands of dollars.

Fitness instructor Renee Pillow said she received the suspicious phone call while teaching an exercise class earlier this week. She said the caller identified themselves as Deputy Rosseau from the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

“I was extremely upset,” said Pillow. “Anytime someone says they are about to arrest you and you don't know why, that will upset you."

The caller said she failed to show up for jury duty and instructed Pillow to put $1867.47 on a money card and bring it down to the jail or be arrested.

One of Pillow’s class participants – Barbara Roach, who operates a bail bonding company – was invited to listen in on the conversation.

“He was so convincing,” said Roach. “He never changed the tone of his voice.  He never got excited. He kept saying the same script over and over again."

Pillow said she took notes during the call and believed him, until he mentioned the name of the judge who allegedly signed the warrant – Judge Grant Hawkins.

Roach said she knew Hawkins and gave him a call, where she found out it was a scam.

“The courts won't try to collect money this way. We wouldn't issue warrants like this,” said Hawkins.

The fitness instructor said those dedicated to scams need to obtain real employment.


"If you are that dedicated to scamming someone, and if you are that intelligent -you could probably get a legitimate job and make a legitimate income,” she said.