Maryland man charged in online pet scam

Loudoun County, VA (December 29, 2020) – A Maryland man was arrested on Monday and charged in connection with a pet scam where a Loudoun County resident paid over $1,000 for a kitten she never received.

The suspect, Junior Perkins A. Tako, 25, was charged with money laundering in the scheme. The investigation conducted by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Unit determined Tako received the monies from the scam through a payment app and acted as a go-between transferring the monies overseas. 

The victim reported in May 2020 that she was researching certified cat breeders and contacted a company online. The victim contacted the breeder by email and transferred monies to purchase a kitten. She was then contacted by the breeder asking for additional monies for travel costs. The victim refused to pay the monies and demanded a refund. The victim never received her money back and reported the case to the LCSO. 

In light of this arrest and recent pet scam cases, the LCSO is offering these tips to assist residents who are interested in purchasing a pet:

• Residents are reminded to never send money to a pet purchase unless you have seen the animal in person.

• Deal with local breeders, animal shelters, and rescue groups.

• It is a red flag if someone requests payment via wire transfer or prepaid debit card.

• Do you research on the seller before sending any money, researching online the sellers full name, address, and phone number. If no information is found, or they refuse to let you go to the pet’s home, chances are it is a scam.

Tako turned himself over to authorities on December 28. He was released on a $1,000 secured bond.

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