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Suspected Coin Scam Artist Arrested In Crestline

By Jesse B. Gill and Melissa Pinion-Whitt Staff Writers
Posted: 05/20/2011 04:24:12 PM PDT

CRESTLINE - He has at least 13 aliases, an affinity for high-stakes gambling and, according to sheriff's investigators, a knack at scamming coin dealers.

Now 39-year-old Saint Jovite Youngblood of Crestline is behind bars.

"The victims would give him large sums of money or gold coins," said Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies arrested Youngblood on Thursday on suspicion of defrauding a San Bernardino coin dealer of $94,000 in gold coins. He was booked into Central Detention Center in lieu of $1 million bail, sheriff's officials said.

A sheriff's detective discovered the theft while investigating several similar cases involving the theft of collector coins.

Youngblood wrote a $94,000 check for gold coins in December 2009. The check bounced, and investigators say his bank account never had that amount of money. Sheriff's officials said Youngblood is suspected of selling the coins in Australia and using the money for gambling.

"When he went to Australia and sold the coins, he used that money for gambling," Bachman said. "But the rest of the money he scammed from people, we're not sure if that was all gambled or not."

Several other victims reported falling for the same scheme, by Youngblood taking the buyer's money or coins without providing coins or money in return.

There are four known victims in the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction and could be more, Bachman said. And the losses could be in the millions.

Youngblood told his victims not to keep records of their transactions, saying the records could allow the Internal Revenue Service to create problems for them, Bachman said.

"The biggest problem for investigators is that there is a lack of evidence because he convinced these victims that they could keep records," she said.

The victims said Youngblood earned their trust by claiming he earned a Purple Heart medal through the War on Terrorism, that he served as a U.S. Navy Seal and his wife and children had all been killed by a drunk driver. Sheriff's officials say all of these stories are false.

"Somehow, he would fabricate these elaborate stories and gain the victims' trust and they would turn over their money and valuables to him," Bachman said.

Sheriff's investigators say there may be more victims.

Anyone with information may call sheriff's Detective Steve Boydston or Detective Craig Harris, 909-336-0600.

[email protected], 909-386-3878

[email protected], 909-386-3921

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