Police arrested a man accused of impersonating Trump's family on Twitter and raising more than $7,000 for a bogus 'Gay Voices for Trump' campaign

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Police arrested a man accused of impersonating Trump's family on Twitter and raising more than $7,000 for a bogus 'Gay Voices for Trump' campaign
Former President Donald Trump uses a mobile phone during a roundtable discussion on the reopening of small businesses in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, US, June 18, 2020.Reuters/Leah Millis
  • A Pennsylvania man is accused of impersonating Trump's family online to defraud, the DoJ said.
  • The complaint alleges Joshua Hall used social media to gain thousands of dollars from hundreds of victims.
  • He faces a maximum sentence of 22 years for wire fraud and identity theft charges, the DoJ said.

Police arrested a Twitter user on Tuesday who is accused of impersonating former President Donald Trump's relatives.

Joshua Hall, from Pennsylvania, was charged with fraud and identity theft offenses, according to a Department of Justice (DoJ) press release.

The FBI says Hall raised thousands of dollars for a fake organization by impersonating Trump's relatives. The New York Times first reported in December that Hall had impersonated Trump's brother Robert Trump, his sister Elizabeth Trump Grau, and his son Barron Trump.

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In December 2020, The Times reported that Hall raised $7,384 in a GoFundMe campaign launched on July 9, 2020 for a bogus organization called "Gay Voices for Trump," which Hall described on the GoFundMe site as "a grass-roots coalition of LGBT Americans."

The DoJ didn't provide details on this in the press release, but Hall spoke to The Times for its report.

GoFundMe banned Hall from its site, Insider reported in December, and started an investigation into the fundraiser.

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Investigators claim Hall accumulated more than 100,000 followers on social media and used the accounts to obtain media coverage, that "he then exploited," per Tuesday's complaint.

"Joshua Hall allegedly impersonated family members of the then-President of the United States on social media to fraudulently induce hundreds of victims to donate to a political organization that did not exist, and then pocketed those funds for his own use," Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in the DoJ press release.

In total, the scheme devised and executed by Hall yielded thousands of dollars from hundreds of victims located throughout the United States, including in the Southern District of New York, according to the allegations in the complaint.

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Central to the scheme was the impersonation of members of Trump's family, including Barron Trump among others, the complaint alleged.

Trump fell for a fake Twitter profile of Elizabeth Trump when Hall tweeted that Elizabeth wanted to overturn the election vote. "Thank you Elizabeth," Trump posted on Twitter. "LOVE!"

The tweet is now hidden because Trump's account was "permanently suspended" after a violent siege on the US Capitol in January. Twitter also blocked each of the fake Trump family member accounts that Hall created.

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The charges of wire fraud and identity theft carry a maximum sentence of 20 years and 2 years in prison respectively.

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