Two Bakersfield residents are in police custody after they allegedly scammed several South Valley businesses out of equipment for a fake construction company.
Porterville police said Troy Worthen, 36, was helped by Tiffany Johnson, 28, in posing as an employee in a construction company when he went to a Porterville business to purchase equipment.
Worthen entered Barnes Welding Supply in Porterville a few days before police learned of the scam on Dec. 27.
Police say Worthen had billed a $1,750 plasma cutter to the fake construction company, West Valley Construction.
When police began investigating, they learned the pair may have targeted Bakersfield and Visalia businesses in a similar fashion.
Police followed up with some of the businesses, including West Valley Construction Company that confirmed fraudulent purchases were made.
As they investigated, police said Worthen called the Porterville business again with a request to purchase more equipment.
Around 3:51 p.m. Tuesday, Worthen was arrested along with Johnson, who had a no-bail warrant for a probation violation, police said.
The property sold to Worthen’s fake business had already been sold to a Bakersfield resident through Offer Up, an online marketplace. Police said the equipment was scheduled to be returned to the Porterville business.
Porterville police believe there could be more victims throughout the Central Valley. Both suspects were in custody of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department facing grand theft and conspiracy charges.