Spoilers! The scam artist got caught. But, boy, was it a journey.
A 21-year-old Door Dash driver named Joshua Hall is in the midst of a federal court case after he pretended to be several Trump family members.
For the past year, the Mechanicsburg resident and Door Dash driver created several social media accounts impersonating Trump family members, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. According to the current trial, some of the earliest discovered incidences were back in July of last year. A Twitter profile fashioned after Robert Trump, Donald’s brother, amassed thousands of followers before asking its followers to support another account run by Joshua Hall.
“Everyone be sure to follow my good friend and ‘partner in crime’ @TheBiTrumpGuy,” the Robert Trump account tweeted. The fake account added that Hall had his “COMPLETE AND TOTAL ENDORSEMENT.
After many followed the account, some donated to a “Gay Voices For Trump” GoFundMe page that Hall allegedly ran. Hall ended up raising more than $7,000 from hundreds of unsuspecting victims by November.
But Robert Trump wasn’t the only Trump family member that Hall impersonated. Hall also created accounts impersonating Trump’s sister Elizabeth, his teenage son Barron Trump, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, and more. In the end, Hall managed to collect more than 160,000 followers across all the fake accounts.
“There was no nefarious intention behind it,” Hall told the New York Times in December after he was identified. “I was just trying to rally up MAGA supporters and have some fun.”
He later confessed, “I should have used better judgment and stuff, but I didn’t deliberately try and dupe people out of money.”
Unfortunately, for Joshua Hall, federal agents weren’t so convinced. Hall is now facing charges of fraud and identity theft in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, as the Washington Post reports.
“Hall led hundreds of people to believe they were donating to an organization that didn’t exist by pretending to be someone he wasn’t,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. in a statement.
The complaint placed against Hall adds, “Central to the scheme was the impersonation by Joshua Hall, the defendant, of members of the President’s family, among others, through his creation and use of social media accounts bearing those family members’ names and photographs. Hall used those accounts to amass more than 100,000 followers on social media and obtain media coverage, a public platform he then exploited to confer on himself and the Fictitious Political Organization a false imprimatur of close ties with the President’s family and to encourage victims to make monetary contributions to the Fictitious Political Organization.”
And as much as Hall claims that he didn’t mean to scam anyone, prosecutors say otherwise. Specifically, prosecutors now say that Hall used the thousands he received not on a pro-Trump campaign group, but “on his own personal living expenses.”
“As we continue to investigate fraud in all its many forms, we urge the public to remain aware of the prevalence of online scams and exercise due diligence when making donations online,” Sweeney said.
The trial continues.