Accused Facebook scammer speaks out - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Accused Facebook scammer speaks out

The man behind the Shelby County Inmates Facebook page says he is not running a scam, but rather a public service to let people see who's behind bars. Source: WBRC video The man behind the Shelby County Inmates Facebook page says he is not running a scam, but rather a public service to let people see who's behind bars. Source: WBRC video
SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

The owner of a Facebook page speaks out against allegations of being a scam.

Earlier this week the Shelby County Sheriff's office warned about a Facebook page being a part of a scam seeking money to provide to inmates at the jail.

Inmates are only allowed to get financial assistance through the sheriff's office or their website.

"What it boils down to is theft of property. They have stolen money they intended to go to a loved one's account in our facility and they are using it for their personal gain," Sgt. Russell Bedsole said.

The owner of the Facebook page was shocked by the allegation.

"I'm totally surprised. Once I figured out why it was being called a scam I immediately addressed it," the Facebook page creator, "Austin," said.

"Austin" does not want to be identified because of concern for his personal safety. His Facebook page takes photos from the Shelby County Sheriff's website and posts them on his page. This is considered legal.

"Austin" said he set up the page to provide a public service to people so they can understand who is behind bars.

"It's just to keep people up to date. I pick and choose who goes on the site. I try to keep it limited to the bad robbers, rape, etc.," "Austin" said.

"Austin" said a woman who lived out of the state of Alabama contacted him through the Facebook page and sent him $50 to put into her son's food account in the Shelby County jail.

"Austin" agreed and tried to help the woman but later discovered it would still cost him to provide the money. He was later in a wreck and was out of commission for a time.

During this time the woman contacted Shelby Co.Sheriff's office and complained. Since then "Austin" has contacted the woman and refunded her money.

"That is all resolved. She got her money back. She was thankful. I spoke with the sergeant about that. No harm was done. My page is still up and running. Getting a lot of support," "Austin" said.

"Austin" said he accepts only donations to help run the Facebook page which has been up and running since January and has received about 7,000 visits a week. "Austin" said since the controversy he has added a  link to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office website, www.shelbyco.com, so that people could find a way to put money into inmates' accounts.

"Austin" insists he is not a crook.

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