A man has been arrested for posing as a woman on Facebook to lure young boys. According to WHNT, Venderius Holyfield created a fake Facebook page under the alias Jalisa Smith with a random profile picture of an attractive black woman. He reportedly used the account to become acquainted with young boys.
Holyfield allegedly promised to perform oral sex on the boys in an effort to lure them. During one conversation with a 15-year-old boy Holyfield was making plans to meet, he said that he’d be waiting in the backseat of his car under a blanket. He told the boy he didn’t want to show his face because he’d been filmed before without consent. However, the lie was only a futile attempt to continue the ruse he’d used to lure the young man.
Tarrant Police Detective Phillip George revealed the boy and his brother met with Holyfield on Aug. 17. While in the car with him, the boy lifted the blanket and discovered “Jalisa Smith” was actually Venderius Holyfield. Police were called to a store near where the suspicious vehicle was parked. The victim’s brother jumped out of the vehicle and fled when police arrived.
George said the 15-year-old victim told police there are three other victims.
“HE [THE VICTIM] HAS SINCE TOLD THEM [THE OTHER VICTIMS] IT WAS A MAN. THEY ARE EMBARRASSED BY IT. SO I THINK THEY ARE AFRAID TO COME FORWARD. BUT UNFORTUNATELY, IF THEY DON’T COME FORWARD, WE CAN’T ADD CHARGES TO THE OFFENDER,” GEORGE SAID.
According to court records, Holyfield is facing a string of charges including he crimes of attempted sodomy, enticing a child for immoral purposes and traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act. He was taken into custody at Jefferson County Jail. However, he posted a $35,000 bond and was released the following day.
Venderius Holyfield wouldn’t be the first to create a fake account for such criminal acts. Back in February of 2016, a man pretended to be a pretty woman in order to lure a 12-year-old boy into sexual chats over the Internet, York Regional Police alleged.
Investigators suspect the victim may have been targeted after playing hockey at an Oshawa rink.
They’ve charged Donald Richards, 40, of Bowmanville, with two counts of luring a person under 16 using telecommunications.
Richards was employed part-time in snack shops at three Oshawa hockey arenas, according to police.
“The victim is from York Region and his team happened to have played hockey at the arena where the accused was working,” Const. Andy Pattenden alleged.
York’s Internet child exploitation unit began investigating in November 2015, after the boy’s mom found “inappropriate chats” on her son’s Facebook account, Pattenden said.
“THE INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT THE 12-YEAR-OLD BOY HAD BEEN CONTACTED ON FACEBOOK BY A PERSON POSING AS JENNIFER JACKSON, A 25-YEAR-OLD WOMAN,” HE SAID. “THE CHATS BEGAN WITH JENNIFER JACKSON COMPLIMENTING THE BOY ON HIS APPEARANCE AND ASKING HIM TO UPLOAD A PHOTO OF HIMSELF.”
Pattenden alleged the “online grooming activity” continued, and over time the chats became “sexual in nature.”
A grown woman having such chats with a child would be concerning enough, but police say it wasn’t a woman after all.
“TURNS OUT THAT PROFILE WAS A FAKE FACEBOOK PROFILE,” PATTENDEN SAID.
Police, who released a photo of the woman as part of their investigation, said that they know her real identity and she had nothing to do with the crime.
“INVESTIGATORS DIDN’T FEEL RELEASING THE ACCUSED MAN’S PHOTO WOULD FURTHER THE INVESTIGATION BECAUSE THE ALLEGED CONTACT WITH THE VICTIM WAS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA,” PATTENDEN SAID, ADDING ANY OTHER ALLEGED VICTIM WOULD ONLY KNOW HIM FROM THE WOMAN’S PHOTO USED IN THE BOGUS FACEBOOK ACCOUNT.
INVESTIGATORS EXECUTED A SEARCH WARRANT AT THE SUSPECT’S HOME.
“HE WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY WITHOUT INCIDENT AND A NUMBER OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES WERE SEIZED,” PATTENDEN SAID.