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Police Seek Phony Talent Scout Accused of Sexual Battery

Law enforcement officials are searching for a man who posed as a talent scout in order to solicit women online across Southern California.

Law enforcement officers across Southern California today sought a man who posed as talent scout and solicited women online for phony movie-industry jobs in the Bakersfield area, a sheriff's deputy said.

Anthony Augustus Jefferson, 45, of Bakersfield, who previously lived in West Los Angeles, is wanted for crimes including sexual battery by false pretense, indecent exposure and petty theft, Deputy Nicole Nishida of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau said.

He posed as a talent scout to induce women to travel to Bakersfield for interviews for jobs such as personal assistants, models and actresses, she said. His alleged victims, 20-53 years old, lived in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Westlake, West Los Angeles, and the city of Orange, according to sheriff's detectives. It was unclear how many there were. No time frame was given.

Jefferson allegedly said he worked for television networks, using legitimate trademarks and employee names as part of the scam.

Once the women arrived in Bakersfield, he allegedly promised they would go far in the entertainment business and meet top stars; he allegedly got financial information from them or persuaded them to use their credit cards for purchases, such as motel rooms, for which he said he would reimburse them.

In Kern County, where a warrant was issued Sept. 7, he apparently has a criminal record dating to about 1993. Anyone with more information as to his whereabouts was urged to call Bakersfield police at (661) 327-7111.

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