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Crockett Co. Man Suspected of Money Scam

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

CROCKETT CO., Tenn. - Crockett County sheriff's deputies said they can not believe an international scam has hit so close to home. Sergeant Gilliand said the home of accused scammer, James Willcut, 47, was searched and printers used to forge documents were seized. Gilliland said those printers could have cost victims thousands of dollars.

Sheila Finney and her son have both been victims of online scams. She said Wilcutt needs to pay for what he has taken.

"I'd put him on a work farm or something and make him pay every dime back, yes, yes I really would," Finney said.

Finney said she had to declare bankruptcy following the scam. She said her son is still paying the bills back. Crockett County investigators said scammers use the internet and specifically email to target their victims telling them they can receive money usually in exchange for personal information.

Sergeant Allan Gilliland said he was alerted to alerted Willcut after a fraudulent check chased in Alabama was linked to him. Gilliland said the scam extends well beyond Crockett County. Victims across the county and world are thought to have paid out tens of thousands of dollars many of the victims were elderly.

"Elderly people can't come out of it. They can't. Once they lose it, it's gone," Finney said.

Gilliland is frustrated by the thought.

"It's really frustrating when you have citizens of the county who have been taken advantage of and there's really nothing you can do," he said.

Gilliland said problems like these have plagued Crockett County for years, but the magnitude of the case against Willcutt forced the Secret Service as well as the Postal Service to conduct a federal investigation.

"It's really hard for us to track them but now we're on a roll on something," he said.

Willcutt currently faces state charges but is expected to face federal charges as well. He is currently being held at the Crockett County Jail.