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Tag Archive | "extortion"

Sheriff’s office warns of extortion attempts


The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office has seen a new and creative way for criminals to extort money from unsuspecting victims and the frequency seems to be increasing. Extortion has been occurring for many years, but as times and technology change, so do the efforts of those who wish to take advantage of others. Recently, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office has seen a new trend in these cases in our area. Deputies have received reports of attempted extortion via social media.

A typical social media extortion case begins with an individual accepting a Facebook friend request from a stranger. Through that exchange, the suspect begins to learn personal information about the victim. Victims are tricked into divulging compromising information, pictures, or video. The threat typically includes posting the compromising items on the victim’s Facebook timeline or the victim’s friend’s timeline unless money is paid. It is often difficult to determine the true identity of the suspect, which makes these cases difficult to pursue and prosecute.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office encourages everyone to be cautious when accepting social media friend requests. We recommend only accepting requests from people you personally know. Having frank discussions with children in one’s home over safe use of the Internet is also strongly suggested.

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Extortion attempt over cell phone fails

Police seeking one of the suspects, Zachary Kenny


Jennifer Biesiada

Two suspects that attempted to extort money over a stolen cell phone are now facing charges.
According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, an employee from the Sprint Store, 4116 17 Mile Rd NE, contacted the Cedar Springs Police Department on August 9 to report a cell phone theft. “The unusual part of this investigation was that those who had possession of the cell phone were demanding this person meet them and pay money to get the phone back,” explained Parent.
The stolen cell phone was a display model that was an active phone used to demonstrate the operation of the phone to interested customers. Upon calling the phone number, the store employee was told by the suspects that they would return the phone for cash. The store employee immediately called police.  A number of calls followed between the employee and suspects until they set up a meeting place.
The store employee met the suspects on Lake Street in Sand Lake, near the White Pine Trail. The Cedar Springs Police moved in and investigated those involved. The stolen cell phone was recovered and the suspects, a 20-year-old female from Rockford, and 20-year-old man from Sparta, were questioned.  Others needed to be questioned and the police wanted to see if the store had surveillance video that might support their investigation.
The police investigation was presented to the Prosecutor’s Office with charges being issued for Receiving and Concealing Stolen Property over $200.00 and less than $1,000.00.  This criminal violation is a one-year misdemeanor.
Warrants were issued for Jennifer Ann Biesiada and Zachary Jacob Kenny. Jennifer Biesiada was recently located during another police investigation in Rockford and was arrested at that time. Police have not been able to locate Zachary Kenny. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Zachary Kenny can call the Cedar Springs Police Department at 616 696-1311.

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