Uber and authorities are investigating hoax calls made to 81-year-old man that led to death of female driver

Uber is helping investigators look into an account that sent a driver to the Ohio home where an 81-year-old man allegedly fatally shot the woman because he mistakenly believed she was part of a scam that targeted him, the company said. ride-hailing company. Wednesday.

Loletha Hall’s death on March 25 is “a horrible tragedy” and that account has since been banned, an Uber spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement. “Our hearts continue to go out to Loletha’s loved ones as they grieve.”

William J. Brock was indicted Monday on charges of murder, felonious assault and kidnapping in Hall’s death. Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday for him and his attorney, Paul Kavanagh of Springfield, Ohio.

The grand jury also said the gun seized from Brock’s home, a .22 caliber revolver, is subject to forfeiture. Brock has pleaded not guilty.

Police said Brock called 911 before noon to say he had shot someone at his South Charleston home, claiming Hall had tried to rob him. Investigators later said the driver was unaware of the scam phone call Brock had received with threats and demands for money, citing an incarcerated relative.

Hall “did not threaten or assault Mr. Brock and did not make any requests other than to inquire about the package that had been sent to her to retrieve via the Uber app,” the Clark County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement dated April 11. The police agency said Brock “pulled out a handgun and held it at gunpoint, demanding the identity of the subjects he had spoken to on the phone.”

It’s unclear exactly what the phone calls told Brock, but the sheriff’s office press release included a reminder, particularly for older people, that law enforcement and courts do not require cash for bail “as in this case”.

“We encourage all citizens to use extreme caution when unexpectedly contacted by individuals claiming to be relatives incarcerated in a correctional facility, or who claim to have direct knowledge of relatives incarcerated in a correctional facility,” the sheriff’s office warned .

The FBI issued a warning in January about government identity theft scams that send couriers to the homes of their targets – often elderly people – to collect money or get them to buy gold and other precious metals. The FBI said its Internet Crime Complaint Center recorded that such activity resulted in more than $55 million in losses in the final eight months of 2023.

A 2021 survey of seniors in the Chicago area found that when people were told by a fictitious government agency that their personal information had been compromised, those with little awareness of the scams were especially vulnerable.

Police said Hall’s Uber ride to pick up a package was ordered by the same person who made fraudulent calls to Brock, or by an accomplice.

Brock is accused of taking Hall’s cellphone and not letting her go, then fatally shooting her as she tried to get into his vehicle. The sheriff’s office said it is investigating “the original scam call to Mr. Brock from the male subject” and the order for the package to be delivered via the app.

Brock shot Hall two more times, suffering a minor head injury himself during the confrontation, and then called 911, police said. Hall, a Columbus resident who police said was not armed, later died at a hospital.

He posted $200,000 bail and was released from the Clark County Jail on Wednesday. FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren at the agency’s Cincinnati office said he was aware of the killing but declined to confirm or deny whether he was involved in the case.

In an obituary in which her name was Lo-Letha “Letha” Toland-Hall, Hall was described as the mother of one son and one stepson, a devoted member of her church, and a talented cook known for delicious pies. She retired from the Ohio Regional Income Tax Agency and also worked in behavioral health, in a school and for Uber. She studied horticulture at Ohio State and started a cleaning business.

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