Wake County sheriff's deputies Monday charged a man who was being held in the county detention center last July with conning another inmate out of more than $3,000 from his telephone account and using part of it have a friend bail him out.
John Gregory Crawford, 19, surrendered at the detention center on a warrant charging him with the felony of obtaining property by false pretense.
Last July 20, the warrant said, Crawford persuaded Rigoberto Estrella-Cruz, 32, a Spanish-speaking inmate, to give Crawford the account number and personal identification number for Estrella-Cruz’s Paytel account.
The warrant alleged that Crawford with “intentionally falsely translating information to the victim.”
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Paytel is a company that sets up phone systems in jails and prisons. The systems allow people to deposit money into an account so that an inmate can make phone calls.
With Estrella-Cruz’s account information, the warrant alleged, Crawford got access to $3,130.76.
Crawford used some to pay for phone calls and then gave the information to a person outside the jail so that person could withdraw the rest of the money from the account and use it to post Crawford’s bond.
The warrant did not name the outside person. It also did not say who had deposited the money for Cruz-Estrella.
County records show that Cruz-Estrella had been arrested the day that the warrant charges the swindle happened.
Cruz-Estrella was being held after Garner police charged him with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and with trespassing.
Crawford had been arrested July 18 and charged with felony probation violation. He had been convicted Dec. 18, 2014, of felony larceny and put on 18 months’ probation, state prison records show.
Arrest records from Monday show that in addition to the money theft from Cruz-Estrella, Crawford was served with warrants saying he did not keep a court date for the probation violation charge filed in July and one for misdemeanor drug possession charges filed in March.
Tuesday, Crawford was being held without bail and was scheduled for a court appearance.