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FedEx packages with $81,000 lead Hillsborough detectives to scam run from motel room

A tip from New Jersey brought detectives to the FedEx distribution center in Tampa, where they found packages filled with money sent from several states to a Rodeway Inn in Tampa. So they staked it out.
FedEx packages, shown left, were filled with $81,000 from people out of state who Hillsborough deputies say were scammed by Dontavius Oakley, 35, who is charged with fraud. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies on Thursday received an interesting tip: A person in New Jersey, they learned, had sent money via FedEx to a man in Tampa, believing it would help get a virus off their computer.

The person in New Jersey eventually figured it was a scam and reported it. Hillsborough sheriff’s detectives intercepted the package at the FedEx distribution center in Tampa.

The package was addressed to Dontavius Oakley, 35, who was using the address of a Rodeway Inn Motel, 6510 Hwy 301 in Tampa, deputies said.

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Detectives also also found several other packages addressed to Oakely at the distribution center. They were shipped by people in California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon and Texas. Some also had been shipped from local addresses.

Detectives went undercover and delivered some of the packages to to the Rodeway Inn, which they watched under surveillance. Detectives saw Oakley and another man, Carlton Thomas, 50, drive away from the motel. Deputies pulled them over and arrested them.

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Detectives said the packages they seized had a total of $81,000 in them.

Sheriff’s officials are working to identify other potential victims and are asking anyone contacted by Carlton or Oakley, who also used the name Don Pazious, to call detectives at (813) 247-8200.

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Oakley was arrested on charges of organized fraud and grand theft. Thomas is charged with driving with a counterfeit license and also was charged with a warrant out of New Jersey.

“These suspects were taking advantage of one of our most vulnerable populations,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “I want to remind everyone to remain vigilant when it comes to scams. Nobody will ask you to send large sums of cash in the mail.”

Carlton Thomas, 50, was arrested on a New Jersey warrant and driving with a counterfeit driver's license when he was pulled over with a man suspected of fraud. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]