SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has made contact with two Missouri teens who said they were employed by a South Fulton County teen accused of trying to scam millions from the state of Georgia.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr broke news of Charles Turner's arrest in an exclusive report Thursday, detailing how cars purchased with cash were seized, along with documents and electronics found in Turner's mother's home.
Turner, 18, is facing bank fraud-related charges in Fulton and Henry counties, and he is now under state investigation for an alleged tax return plot to try and scam more than $20 million from the state of Georgia.
On Friday, Carr spoke with two St. Charles, Missouri, high schoolers, who said they met Turner in an online gaming app over the summer.
“That’s just how we talked, and then one day he was like, ‘Yo do you guys want a job?’” recalled 17-year-old Brant Wagster, who said Turner drove to Missouri several months ago to meet them.
“He actually wanted me to recruit people for his job, and I did,” noted 18-year-old Clayton Bickmeyer, who said Turner emphasized needing a certain amount of employees on payroll and did not require them to do any actual work.
The teens forwarded payroll documents tied to Turner’s Riverdale X Electronics LLC, a business that advertised Amazon product deals that were actually sold for an upcharge.
Investigators said Turner collected customer bank account information and was the mastermind behind fraudulent accounts at multiple banks. His returned business tax overpayments eventually captured the Department of Revenue’s attention.
Last month, Wagster said Turner made a failed attempt to wire payroll funds and ended up mailing out checks.
“My original pay was $2,000 and then $17,000 in reimbursements somehow, and he was like, 'Buy yourself a car or something,'” he said.
While Wagster and Bickmeyer opted not to head to the bank with suspicious-looking, large checks, others made a move.
“All the employees that tried to deposit it or cash the check, they listed those checks as fraud so there were a lot of employees’ accounts that have been shut down,” said Bickmeyer.
In recent emails, Turner promised overdue payments to employees through Paypal and notified them that he’d be shutting down Riverdale X to open a College Park Vape Shop in the new year.
Carr went to the listed address, which is currently advertised for a leasing opportunity.
Turner also told employees he was in the process of legally changing his name, as he began to sign off on documents as Matthias Perdue.
State investigators said they will interview the teens as a part of an ongoing twofold investigation: one tied to the failed tax fraud attempt, and another tied to bank fraud involving several city of South Fulton financial centers.
Cox Media Group