Scheme Involves Bogus Officer, Police Say

D.C. police are warning residents to be wary after a fraud in which a man who identified himself as a police officer stole cash and savings bonds from a woman in the 4th District.

The man called the elderly woman on the telephone, said he was a police officer and requested her help in catching counterfeiters at a local bank, police said. A man arrived at her door minutes later. "He identified himself as a D.C. police officer and flashed a gold badge and a smile," police said.

Believing that she was aiding a police investigation, the woman withdrew a credit-card cash advance from a Maryland branch of a bank and then took out U.S. savings bonds from a safety deposit box in a second branch, police said. When the woman became suspicious after being asked for more money, the suspect left her, saying he was going to "continue his investigation," police said.

Police asked anyone approached with a similar story to contact the financial crimes and fraud unit at 202-727-4159.


Man Pleads Guilty in Septic Tank Fraud

A former Maryland telemarketer admitted in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt yesterday that he defrauded customers by marketing and selling a septic tank cleaner that was actually store-bought fertilizer, officials said.

Steven A. Jacob pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud, Maryland U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia announced.

In a statement of facts read in open court yesterday, Jacob admitted that he defrauded customers of $800,000 to $2.5 million between 1988 and July 1996, according to prosecutors. Jacob admitted his company made false and misleading claims in printed marketing materials, such as saying that the product the company sold, Septic-Kleenz, contained enzymes and bacteria and had been approved for use in septic tanks by the Environmental Protection Agency, prosecutors said.

Jacob said that the product was actually fertilizer purchased from hardware stores, some of which had lime added, according to officials. Jacob and his partners used post office boxes in College Park to receive payments from customers in the Washington area, Pennsylvania and New York, according to court records.

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. scheduled sentencing for Nov. 22. Jacob could be sentenced to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count.

Arrest in Burtonsville Bank Robbery

A 26-year-old Montgomery County man has been arrested and charged with a holdup at a Chevy Chase Bank branch in Burtonsville, Montgomery County police said yesterday. They said Chuong Nguyen, of the 13500 block of Greencastle Boulevard, was charged in a robbery Wednesday at the bank branch in the 15700 block of Columbia Pike.

According to police, a man approached a teller, handed her a note demanding money and fled after obtaining some.

Police said the arrest came after a bank employee obtained the tag of a vehicle and officers stopped a car near Calverton Boulevard and Beltsville Road.


Man Charged With Raping Alexandria Girl

An 11-year-old Alexandria girl was sexually assaulted Thursday evening on a path, and a 21-year-old man has been charged with rape, police said yesterday.

According to police, a man confronted the girl on the path about 6:50 p.m. and forced her to the ground, they said.

The girl was treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital and released, police said.

Dagoberto Rodriguez, of the 2900 block of Sycamore Street in Alexandria, was arrested after the girl ran home and gave an account to her parents, police said.