| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Over the weekend I received a phone call from a colleague of mine asking if I could speak to his client. I’ll call this client Bob. Bob is a local business man, well respected in his industry, and has never been in any criminal trouble. This was probably the first time that Bob had spoken with a criminal attorney.

So why did Bob need to speak with a criminal lawyer over the weekend? Well Bob had received a phone call from “law enforcement” claiming that he had failed to appear for a Federal Grand Jury summons and that there was now a bench warrant for his arrest. Bob claimed that he never received a Federal subpoena and was scared that he was going to be arrested on a Federal warrant.

Being a bit cynical, I was concerned that Bob was full of it and had actually received notice of this supposed subpoena and was now trying to fix his mistake. I called the phone number he was told to follow up with “407-473-0743”. The person on the other line answered the phone “Orange County Warrant Division”. I was told that Bob had an active warrant and there was a purge amount on the bond that he could pay and then report to Court and take care of his business with the Federal Grand Jury.

I relayed this information to Bob and we both spoke with the supposed supervisor of the Orange County Warrant division. The supervisor then asked us to get a prepaid credit card to pay the “purge amount” and that this was a failure to appear for a Federal Grand Jury summons but was a warrant for missing court for a traffic citation.

For anyone reading this blog, NO WARRANTS ARE ISSUED FOR FAILING TO APPEAR FOR A TRAFFIC CITATION. At that point we knew that this was a scam. I’d say it was a fairly good scam. You receive a call over the weekend so there is no way to call the clerk’s office and you are told that if you don’t pay a certain amount of money for failing to appear for court, you will be arrested.

Moral of the story is always verify what is going on. Generally, you will not receive a phone call regarding a warrant, but simply receive a knock on your door. Be careful. Law enforcement agencies do not ask for credit card numbers to post bond and certainly don’t require you to get a prepaid credit card and ask you to stay on the phone with them while you obtain one from a convenience store.

If you ever have any doubts, call a lawyer. We have seen how the system works and are more likely to recognize something out of the ordinary.

Author Photo

Andrew Moses

Andrew has been practicing criminal law his entire career. After graduating from law school he began working as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting cases in Orange and Osceola Counties. During his time as an Assistant State Attorney, Andrew handled all types of cases ranging from misdemeanors to such serious felonies as drug trafficking and armed robbery. His experience as a prosecutor helped him gain perspective of the criminal justice system and how the government established its cases.

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