SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – An Atlanta, Georgia man will spend nearly three years in jail for scamming two elderly North Louisiana residents out of nearly $10,000 dollars – all from behind bars in a Georgia prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Andre Deaveon Reese carried out the scheme while serving time Georgia’s Autry State Prison. Posting as law enforcement, Reese told his victims they had failed to appear for jury duty and would be arrested unless they paid a fine. The scheme continued from 2015 through July 2020.

The DOJ says Reese and other inmates use contraband cellular telephones to access internet websites to find names, addresses, and telephone numbers of potential victims.

“It may seem bizarre to some but if you are around it for any length of time, we know in law enforcement that contraband cell phones are quite popular in the prison setting, however they come into possession of them,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Brandon B. Brown said Friday. “You have a situation where they use them to commit other crimes, selling drugs in jail, coming into possession of drugs in jail, or committing white-collar type fraud like this.”

For those victims who wanted to pay a fine, the inmates instructed them to purchase pre-paid cash cards and provide the account number of the cash card or the victim could wire money directly into a pre-paid debit card account held by the inmates or one of Reese’s non-incarcerated co-conspirators. Based on these false representations, the victims electronically transferred money to the inmates because they believed the funds would be used to pay the fine.

After a victim provided an inmate with the account number of the pre-paid cash card, the inmates then used their contraband cellphones to contact co-conspirators to have those individuals transfer the money from the cash card purchased by the victims to a pre-paid debit card possessed by the co-conspirators. The co-conspirators would then withdraw the victim’s money via an automated teller machine or at a retail store.

Federal prosecutors say two individuals, ages 75 and 78, fell victim to the scheme in August of 2016. The victims believed the callers and followed their instructions to pay them to have the alleged warrants for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty dismissed. The two victims $9,797.95 forked over to Reese and his co-conspirators.

Reese pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud conspiracy in February 2022.

In addition to 33 months in prison, Reese has also been ordered to pay restitution and will serve three years of supervised release once he serves his time behind bars – presumably without access to a cell phone.