The Santa Monica Police Department has arrested a former internet prankster on allegations that he stole more than $400,000 from clients of his company who claimed to be selling precious metals.
Cody Roeder was arrested Nov. 16 and later posted bond, but the SMPD said his charges stemmed from allegations he stole from multiple clients in multiple states.
The case began in June 2022 when Santa Monica resident Ariel Levy said Roeder defrauded an elderly family member.
Levy’s family was visiting and wanted to sell several gold/silver bars as part of their retirement plan. After contacting reputable dealers in Santa Monica, he found Roeder’s company, Freedom Shield Capital, on the Internet. After online contact, Levy and her family met Roeder at her office at 401 Wilshire.
During that meeting, Levy said he noticed immediate red flags with the process, but a family member decided to pursue the deal and Levy got both a sell order for the metals and a check for $208,000.
Roeder instructed Levy to hold check cashing for three to four days while he authenticated the metals and transferred the funds.
“Although I had my doubts, we handed over all the bullion and left,” Levy said. “Three days have passed and no money has been wired. I called and said ‘what’s going on?’ and he said, “Well, it’s taking longer than I thought, but I’m going to send you a PDF showing the transfers I’m making.”
Levy said he received PDF documents purporting to show money being transferred through accounts, but Roeder continued to make excuses for the non-payment. Levy took it upon himself to investigate by contacting Roeder’s bank who confirmed that an account existed for Roeder, but said he did not have enough to cover the check. Levy also checked out Roeder’s office space and learned that it was actually a coworking site.
When Levy finally tried to cash the check in July, after several weeks of radio silence from Roeder, it bounced back and it was then that Levy contacted the authorities.
Levy said Roeder eventually made an offer to settle any legal claim for $75,000 plus future payments, but Levy said Roeder’s history of nonpayment undermined any confidence he might have had in a OK.
Unbeknownst to Levy, other victims also came forward around this time.
According to the SMPD, a second unnamed victim met with Roeder in July to discuss an investment in the precious metals sector. The victim wired $90,000 to Roeder and was told he would receive the metals in a few weeks. The items never arrived and according to the SMPD, Roeder cut off all communication with the second victim.
“It was later determined that there were multiple other casualties in multiple states, with a total loss of over $400,000,” Lt. Rudy Flores said.
Flores said the SMPD obtained a search warrant for Roeder’s bank accounts that confirmed $90,000 was wired into his account in July. After multiple attempts to contact Roeder at his office and residence failed, officers filed a felony complaint with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for two counts of robbery by false pretense and two counts of child abuse. the elderly.
Flores said Roeder was located in Venice on November 16 and arrested.
Detectives then executed a search warrant at his residence in the 1400 block of Ocean Ave. and recovered several electronic devices. Several affidavits were drawn up and served on Roeder’s bank accounts.
Records show he was taken to the sheriff’s jail on $100,000 bail and released on bail several hours later. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 20.
Roeder previously operated a prank channel on YouTube that resulted in a lawsuit from In-and-Out Burger after Roeder allegedly posed as the company’s CEO during a stunt.
Crimes Against Persons (CAPS) Detective Kayondo is the detective investigating this case. Anyone with additional information regarding these incidents can reach him at 310-458-8937.
#Internet #Celebrity #Arrested #Gold #Theft