A 32-year-old woman from Burlington County has been arrested for impersonating a public health department official and threatening to close a plumbing business over COVID-19 rules, authorities said.
Jennifer Strumph of South Elmwood Road in Evesham falsely claimed that the business had failed to adhere to coronavirus isolation and cleaning protocols, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Evesham Township Police Chief Christopher Chew.
Strumph was charged with computer crime, criminal coercion with intent to harm reputation and assuming a false identity, Coffina and Chew said.
She was taken into custody on Thursday and released after a first appearance in Superior Court, they said.
The investigation, which began late last year, found that Strumph contacted a local plumbing business and pretended to be a contact tracer with the Burlington County Health Department, Coffina said.
The business owner subsequently paid employees more than $5,100 in overtime to comply with the requirements set forth by Strumph, who also created a fictitious email address to help make the impersonation believable, Coffina said.
Her motive is still being determined, he said.
The criminal ruse was exposed after employees ultimately became suspicious and contacted police, who confirmed with Burlington County Health Department officials that the name Strumph had been using was not someone who was employed by the agency.
Anyone with questions about the County’s contact tracing process is encouraged to visit https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testandtrace
Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy is handling the case. The lead investigator was BCPO Detective Nicholas Schieber.
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