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IA- Authorities: Cop impersonator extorts money from sex offenders

4-4-2009 Iowa:

A registered Scott County sex offender is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly tried to extort money out of other sex offenders by posing as a police officer.

Scott County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Mike Erwin said that Ruben Avila Perales, 39, of 915 W. 6th St., Davenport, was arrested Friday at Rockingham Road and Concord Street in Davenport as he attempted to meet one of his victims.

Perales is charged with six counts of extortion, seven counts of impersonating a public official, failure to register as a sex offender-second offense, and failure to abide by the residency restrictions of a child sex offender. The last charge was because Perales was living within 2,000 feet of a school.

Perales is being held in the Scott County Jail. His bond has been set at $5,000, but the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services now has a hold on Perales.

According to the arrest affidavit filed by Davenport police detective Rich Tubbs, Perales pretended to be a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, or DCI, and said that he was field coordinator for Zone 4 of the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.

Perales contacted six other sex offenders, identified himself as a police officer and made appointments to speak with them at their residence about discrepancies with their sex offender registration documents.

Perales threatened to arrest the victims if they missed their appointments and did not pay him $75 a piece for unpaid fees to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.

Perales had made six separate file folders each of which contained information on each of his victims. Each of the folders contained the victim’s photo, personal information and an arrest warrant document.

Erwin and Tubbs are part of the Scott County Sex Offender Task Force.

Erwin said that they learned of the scheme in two ways.

One of the victims went to the Sheriff’s Department because he thought Perales’ story did not sound right, Erwin said.

“Then, by chance on Friday, we were out making compliance checks when one of the offenders we were checking asked if this took care of the other guy’s appointment,” Erwin said. That’s when detectives started asking more questions.

“It was all going down Friday,” Erwin said. “This guy was supposed to meet him (Perales) and he was going to pay the $75. They all were. None of them wanted to be arrested.”

Surveillance was set up with the help of the DCI, Scott County Attorney’s Office, and the Iowa Department of Correctional Services. When Perales showed up, he was arrested, Erwin said.

“We were concerned about how long this may have been going on,” Erwin said. “But we’re pretty confident he just got started and we slammed it shut.”

Perales was convicted in Scott County in 1991 of indecent contact with a child. In 1993 he was convicted in Scott County of sexual abuse third-degree. His victim was a male no older than 13.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Web site, Perales was released from the federal prison in Yazoo City, Miss., Feb. 28, 2008. Why he was in federal prison could not be determined Saturday.

Extortion and failure to register as a sex offender second-offense each are Class D felonies under Iowa law that carry up to five years in prison. Impersonating a public official and violating residency restrictions are each aggravated misdemeanors that carry a prison sentence of up to two years. ..Source.. by Thomas Geyer

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