A Pennsylvania man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly impersonating members of former President Donald Trump’s family on social media to accept donations.
Joshua Hall, 22, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his alleged online activity from September 2019 to around November 2020, according to a Tuesday press release by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
In December, the NYT profiled a 21-year-old Trump supporter in Pennsylvania who had impersonated Trump family members online: https://t.co/e34dCrqQUW
Complaint charging him with wire fraud and identify theft unsealed today in SDNY: https://t.co/X6CybqrXPM pic.twitter.com/nxiwux9Ehe
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) June 8, 2021
He allegedly “created several social media accounts bearing the names and photographs” of Trump’s family members to amass more than 100,000 followers on the fake social media pages, according to a complaint.
Hall, who worked as a DoorDash driver at the time, managed to raise over $7,000 in donations for the “President’s reelection effort,” allegedly defrauding hundreds of people, authorities said when announcing the arrest, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The identities of five members of Trump’s family, including then 14-year-old Barron Trump and the former president’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry were used in the criminal scheme, Inquirer reported.
A tweet by one of the fake accounts was even retweeted by Trump once, Inquirer reported.
“This election inspired me to break my silence,” the first post on the fake account of Trump’s sister Elizabeth Trump Grau reportedly read. “My brother Don won this election.”
“Thank you Elizabeth. LOVE!,” Trump reportedly retweeted the fake message.
“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, as alleged,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said.
Hall faces the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and a mandatory consecutive sentence of 2 years of imprisonment for aggravated identity theft, according to the DOJ.