This is worth the read. Especially if you’re the parent of a young woman or an aspiring model/influencer looking to have professional pictures and work done for a portfolio.
On Thursday, February 18, 2021, the Seal Beach Police Detective Bureau became aware of a fraud suspect scheduled to meet a victim in Seal Beach. Days prior, the victim, a young adult woman, was contacted by the suspect via Instagram. The suspect claimed to be an intern for record label and was recruiting models for an upcoming photoshoot and music video. The suspect offered to pay the victim up to $175 an hour for the photoshoot. The victim, believing the offer was legitimate, agreed to meet the suspect in Seal Beach.
On February 18, 2021, the victim met with the suspect near the Seal Beach Pier. After taking several photographs, the suspect gave the victim two checks written for over $1,000 each. He claimed that he was paying the victim upfront for future photoshoots and instructed her to sign what she was led to believe was a business contract. The victim was told to deposit the checks at two different banks and obtain the maximum amount of cash from the deposits. Both banks gave the victim $200 in cash which she then returned to the suspect. When detectives asked the victim why she would give the suspect back the money that she had “earned” for the photoshoot, the victim said that she fell for the suspect’s sweet talk and promises of future modeling work.
After the victim and suspect went separate ways, the victim was telephoned by the bank and was told that the checks she had deposited were fraudulent. It was at this point the victim discovered that she had been the victim of fraud and drove to the Seal Beach Police Department to report the incident. Seal Beach detectives immediately began to investigate.
Moments later, the suspect telephoned the victim while she was being interviewed by the investigators. The suspect asked that the victim meet him at the pier again so that she could be booked for an upcoming music video shoot. The victim agreed to meet with the suspect again. Patrol officers and detectives surveilled the area while the victim briefly met with the suspect. The suspect was quickly detained by police officers without incident.
Based on statements and additional evidence located in the vehicle, detectives identified several other young women whom they believe have been victimized by the suspect using similar scams.
The suspect was placed under arrest for six counts of identity theft, four counts of defrauding by false pretense, and seven counts of check fraud. He was identified as 24 year old Ricklynn Tyler Parnell of Long Beach, California. He was later booked at the Orange County Jail.
“As a father of young women, I find it extremely unsettling that this suspect would target unsuspecting victims, promise them a modeling career, and then defraud them of their own money” said Chief of Police Philip L. Gonshak. “There is no way of knowing how many other young women have fallen victim to this fraud, but we are hopeful that by releasing this information and the suspect’s image, other victims will come forward.”
The Seal Beach Police Department is seeking additional information about this incident. If you have information, or believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact Detective Bruno Balderrama at (562) 799-4100 ext. 1109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.