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Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.
PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at PIOs@polksheriff.org.
The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.
Polk County Sheriff's Fraud detectives arrested 32-year-old Amanda Brown of Frostproof and charged her with five counts criminal use of personal ID (F2), one count grand theft (F3), one count misrepresentation of proceeds (F3), one count fraud (F3), for fraudulently misrepresenting three homicide victims' families and collecting over $11,000 from GoFundMe on their behalf.
"This woman exploited family members of three young men who were brutally murdered. While they were grieving, she used their personal information to solicit complete strangers to donate money to a fake GoFundMe account. It doesn't get much lower than that. We are thrilled that GoFundMe is reimbursing all of the donated funds back to the generous donors who were swindled." - Grady Judd, Sheriff
The following is an excerpt from her affidavit, and it is self-explanatory:
On July 17, 2020, Brandon Cyril Rollins, Keven Michael Springfield, and Damion Allen Tillman passed away in Frostproof, Florida.
On August 10, 2020, THE VICTIM, contacted the Polk County Sheriff's Office to report what appeared to be a fraudulent GoFundMe account. I contacted THE VICTIM and she advised on August 5th she received a link via Facebook Messenger that directed her to a GoFundMe account, which listed "Amy Lynn" as the creator of the account. THE VICTIM shared the link to her Facebook page, and asked everyone refrain from making any donation to the account, and to report it as fraudulent. After several people reported the account as fraudulent, the organizer closed the account, and changed the organizer and beneficiary name on the account.
THE VICTIM spoke with other members of the families affected by the incident and confirmed the account was created without authorization. THE VICTIM nor any of the family members know anyone with those names.
THE VICTIM provided me the link to the GoFundMe account. I evaluated the account, which was titled: "Polk County Triple Homicide, Family Expenses". The account appeared to be deactivated however, $11,915.00 was raised. THE VICTIM, from Frostproof, FL is listed as the organizer and Amie Lynn is listed as the beneficiary.
On August 25, 2020, I obtained information via subpoena from GoFundMe. Upon reviewing the information obtained, I learned the account titled "Polk County Triple Homicide, Family Expenses" was created on July 19, 2020 at 8:22 am. The organizer listed is THE VICTIM, and other names listed are: Amanda Lynn, THE VICTIM, Aimee Mills.
The payment history shows the following:
$8,756.42 withdrawn on July 26, 2020
$1,720.27 withdrawn on July 27, 2020
$33.38 withdrawn on July 27, 2020
$91.04 withdrawn on July 29, 2020
$759.53 withdrawn on July 30, 2020
$115.92 withdrawn on July 31, 2020
$28.83 withdrawn on August 2, 2020