Florida inmate ran statewide fraud scheme from prison, deputies say

A Florida man has been accused of a statewide fraud scheme that netted over $100,000 – all while he was in a Panhandle prison.

Polk County investigators said they arrested inmate Bobby Staley and several other suspects in the case. Detectives say Staley conducted the operation from Liberty Correctional Institute in Liberty County, while other members of the group worked out of Jacksonville, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale.

The suspects used aliases and fake driver licenses to purchase 557 gift cards and merchandise using the accounts of several Florida businesses.

According to Sheriff Grady Judd, Staley made calls to banks from inside prison, telling call takers that he was the owner of the business. He established new mailing addresses in Jacksonville, where five of the suspects live. New credit cards were then linked to the victims' accounts.

“Bobby Staley has a shockingly long criminal career,” Sheriff Judd offered. “He's an unrepentant thief and con man. He steals from others' hard work. He cannot be trusted outside of jail or prison and now we have clear evidence he can't be trusted in prison.”

Deputies initially said Staley was in a Broward County prison, but later clarified that he was in Liberty County while committing the crimes.