A Pennsylvania man is facing a slew of serious charges after prosecutors alleged he defrauded Trump supporters. During former President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign, his dedicated following was more than happy to open their wallets. This type of commitment made room for scammers to swoop in, and authorities believe that Joshua Hall, 22, took advantage of those who believed that they were donating to an organization that would help Trump.
The Washington Post reports that Hall pretended to be several of Trump’s relatives including his brother and his minor son Barron. Hall is said to have created a pro-Trump group that collected thousands of dollars worth of donations that he kept for himself while operating several social media accounts. Robert Trump even retweeted Hall’s account and added that the alleged fraudster had his “complete and total endorsement.”
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However, prosecutors stated that the pro-Trump group wasn’t real and it was all a ruse for financial gain. Hall, who describes himself as a “bisexual Trump supporter,” reportedly fed into Trump conspiracy theorists with posts about COVID-19 being a scam and shared several QAnon ideas. “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,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr.
In an interview with The New York Times, Hall reportedly admitted to the publication that he did pretend to be members of the Trump family through various fake accounts, but he didn’t do anything maliciously. “I was just trying to rally up MAGA supporters and have fun,” Hall reportedly said. He was able to rack up over 100,000 followers online, many of which believed he was truly a Trump ally, especially after launching a “Gay Voices for Trump” group.
“I should have used better judgment and stuff. But I didn’t deliberately try and dupe people out of money,” said Hall. Prosecutors disagree and they claim Hall made repeated pleas for the public to give donations. It’s unclear how much jail time he’s looking at if convicted, but Hall has been arrested and charged with fraud and identity theft.