Gold: Cody Roeder has been arrested after accusations of theft. Press release image

The Santa Monica Police Department has arrested a former internet prankster on allegations he stole more than $400,000 from clients of his company that purported to sell precious metals. 

Cody Roeder was arrested on Nov. 16 and subsequently posted bail but SMPD said his charges stem from allegations he stole from several clients in multiple states. 

The case began in June of 2022 when Santa Monica resident Ariel Levy said Roeder defrauded an elderly family member. 

Levy’s family was visiting and wanted to sell several gold/silver bars as part of his retirement plan. After contacting reputable dealers in Santa Monica, he found Roeder’s company, Freedom Shield Capital, on the internet. After online contact, Levy and his family met Roeder at his office in the 401 Wilshire building. 

During that meeting, Levy said he noticed immediate red flags with the process but his family member decided to proceed with the deal and Levy secured both a sell order for the metals and a check for $208,000. 

Roeder asked Levy to hold off on cashing the check for three to four days while he authenticated the metals and transferred funds. 

“Although I had my doubts, we handed over all the bullion and we left,” said Levy. “Three days went by and no money had been wired. I called and said ‘what’s happening?’ and he said ‘Well, it’s taking longer than I thought but I’m going to send you a PDF showing the wire transfers that I’m making.’”

Levy said he received PDF documents that supposedly showed money was being transferred through accounts but Roeder continued to make excuses for the lack of payment. Levy took it upon himself to investigate by contacting Roeder’s bank which confirmed an account existed for Roeder but said it did not have enough in it to cover the check. Levy also checked on Roeder’s office space and learned it was actually a coworking site. 

When Levy finally tried to cash the check in July, after several weeks of radio silence from Roeder, it bounced and that’s when Levy contacted the authorities. 

Levy said Roeder eventually made an offer to settle any legal claims for $75,000 plus future payments but Levy said Roeder’s history of failing to make payments undermined any faith he might have had in a deal. 

Unbeknown to Levy, other victims were also coming forward at about this time. 

According to SMPD, a second unnamed victim met with Roeder in July to discuss investing in the precious metals business. The victim wired Roeder $90,000 and was told he would receive the metals in a few weeks. The items never arrived and according to SMPD, Roeder cut off all communication with the second victim. 

“It was later determined that there were several other victims from multiple states, with a loss totaling over $400,000,” said Lt. Rudy Flores. 

Flores said SMPD secured a search warrant for Roeder’s bank accounts which confirmed that $90,000 was wired to his account in July.  After multiple attempts to contact Roeder at his office and residence failed, officers filed a felony complaint with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for two counts of theft by false pretense and two counts of elder abuse. 

Flores said Roeder was located in Venice on Nov. 16 and arrested. 

Detectives then executed a search warrant at his residence in the 1400 block of Ocean Ave. and recovered several electronic devices.  Multiple affidavits were written and served to Roeder’s bank accounts.

Records show he was booked into the Sheriff’s jail with a bail of $100,000 and that he made bail several hours later. His next court date is scheduled for Dec. 20. 

Roeder previously operated a YouTube prank channel that resulted in a lawsuit from In-and-Out Burger after Roeder was alleged to have impersonated the company’s CEO during a stunt. 

Crimes Against Persons (CAPS)  Detective Kayondo is the investigating detective on this case. Anyone with any additional information pertaining to these incidents can reach him at 310-458-8937.

editor@smdp.com