Michael C. Walizer
Charles City County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia
End of Watch: Saturday, March 31, 2012
Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 11 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 3/31/2012
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available
Deputy Sheriff Michael Walizer was killed in an automobile accident while responding to backup another deputy on a traffic stop at approximately 2:00 am.
He was driving on John Tyler Highway, one mile west of Route 155, when his patrol car ran off the right side of the roadway. The patrol car then crossed over to the other side of the road and struck a tree. Despite wearing a seat belt, he suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.
Deputy Walizer had served with the Charles City County Sheriff’s Office for six years and had served in law enforcement for 11 years. He had previously served with the Newport News / Williamsburg International Airport Police Department, Richmond International Airport Police Department, and Caroline County Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:
Sheriff Javier J. Smith
Charles City County Sheriff’s Office
10780 Courthouse Road
Charles City, VA 23030
Phone: (804) 829-9265
Multnomah County sheriff’s deputies arrested Officer Scott Elliott on the job on Thursday.
Portland police say the 50-year-old officer was put on paid administrative leave without police powers. They declined other comment.
Elliott was taken to the Multnomah County Detention Center with bail of $500,000.
Forsyth County resident Paula Olsen called 911 in January after she found Sheriff Ted Paxton passed out in her home with her baby inside.
Rumors about the incident have been flying around the county for weeks. Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant made several open records requests to get to the bottom of it.
In the 911 call, Olsen refused to identify Paxton. Olsen told the operator the man who was unconscious in her front doorway had been babysitting for her.
“I was out, and he was keeping the baby, and he drank a lot,” she said.
As the recording continued, Paxton woke up.
“I just had too much to drink, OK?” he told Olsen.
She replied, “Well, they’re here to help. You’re scaring me.”
Despite the ordeal, Forsyth County Fire Department documents and the private ambulance company’s documents say “no emergency” and “no patient found.”
Paxton turned down Diamant’s repeated requests for an interview to clear things up, but emailed a statement saying, “I was suffering from a blood sugar imbalance, which caused the event.”
An internal affairs investigation by the Forsyth County Fire Department found Paxton did not receive special treatment. However, a first responder told investigators Paxton seemed “agitated” and admitted to drinking “a lot.” In his statement to investigators, the first responder added Paxton told him, “Go ahead and tell all the papers, ‘your sheriff is drunk.’”
Forsyth County leaders are debating their next move.
“All I can tell you is the report says what it says,” said Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “Given that it’s a personnel matter involving the county, I have to defer any further comment.”
Forsyth County Manager Doug Derrer is now reviewing the case.
Meanwhile, Paxton is up for re-election. Through a series of recent statements, he called all the controversy over the 911 call politically motivated by those who want to ruin his reputation and derail his campaign.
Five Juárez police officers, including a police commander, were shot and killed at a party www.privateofficer.com
New York City NY March 31 2012 A federal class action was filed against New York City and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday for what plaintiffs allege are suspicionless stops within private residential buildings.
“Operation Clean Halls had placed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of residents of buildings enrolled in the program.
Lawyers for the class members said sometimes police often get keys throughout the building and tenant rosters. In Manhattan, plaintiffs lawyers estimate about 3,900 buildings with overwhelmingly black and Latino residents, are enrolled in the program.
This is now the third class action filed against the city for the police’s stop and frisk practices.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne defended the program. “By challenging uninvited individuals, police are providing a level of safety to tenants that residents of doormen buildings take for granted,” he said in a statement.
The lawsuit against Operation Clean Halls does not seek to eradicate the program, but only curb what plaintiffs call abusive stop-and-frisk practices.
The plaintiffs allege regular floor sweeps by officers are leading to constitutional violations.
Specifically, they assert that suspicionless stop and frisks and wrongful trespass arrests have violated their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
“You get to the point that you don’t feel like a human being.,” said Jacqueline Yates, one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit who lives in the Bronx. “I got family members that don’t send their kids over because they’re scared they’re gonna be stopped.”
They also contend their First Amendment rights of assembly are infringed upon when friends and family members are too intimidated by police presence to visit their buildings.
Plaintiffs also argue the city is violating the Fair Housing Act by operating the program in a way that disparately impacts blacks and Latinos.
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched police throw my son and his friends up against the wall,” said Fawn Bracy, a Bronx resident and another named plaintiff, “and I have to run downstairs and just keep running and running and stopping them from harassing these kids for just sitting in their own courtyard where they live at.”
Criminal justice advocates says wrongful trespassing arrests bring disruptive consequences to the individual lives of those living under the Clean Halls program.
“Fighting these illegal charges requires taking full days off at a time, from work or from school, for court appearances stretching out for more than a year,” said McGregor Smyth of the Bronx Defenders, a public defender organization that has helped lead the lawsuit.
Operation Clean Halls started in the early 1990s, and involves thousands of buildings throughout the city.
Plaintiffs contend the NYPD has no centralized oversight over the program. They are asking the police to stop asking residents to flash their IDs, to stop arresting people for trespassing without first establishing if the person is allowed to be there and to beef up citywide standards for enrollment into the program.
NYPD data shows the police made about 329,446 stops between 2006 and 2010 on suspicion of trespassing, which amounts to about 12 percent of stops. Seven percent of those stops resulted in arrest.
Naked co-ed arrested for sexual assault near Carolina Central University housing www.privateofficer.com
Durkee entered guilty pleas to five counts of mail fraud at the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse in Sacramento this morning before U.S. District Judge Kimberly J Mueller. Federal prosecutors say the veteran campaign treasurer misappropriated money from the accounts of at least 50 clients, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Durkee remains free pending sentencing on June 20. She faces 11 to 14 years in prison.
A document filed with the court this week said she siphoned millions from her clients’ accounts to cover business expenses such as payroll for her Burbank firm, Durkee & Associates, provide care and services for her elderly mother and pay personal credit card bills. She also transferred money between accounts to try to the hide the embezzlement from clients and investigators. Prosecutors said Friday that Durkee may have taken as much as $20 million.
Durkee, who ran the Burbank-based Durkee & Associates, was arrested in September on suspicion of committing mail fraud by submitting falsified campaign finance reports to elections officials. The investigation was sparked by irregularities uncovered during a Fair Political Practices Commission audit.
Despite a history of fines for campaign disclosure violations issued by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Durkee maintained a client list that included some of California’s most prominent Democratic politicians, political organizations and nonprofits.
Several clients, including Feinstein, have sued Durkee and the bank where their assets were held in hopes of recouping some of the lost money.
ATOKA, Oklahoma March 31 2012 - A teacher and coach at Atoka High School was arrested and charged with several felony counts following an investigation into allegations he gave better grades to students in exchange for sexual favors.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says Casey Hauff, 32, turned himself in to the Atoka jail Friday morning.
In October 2011, allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct between Hauff and several students.
During their investigation, OSBI agents identified five female victims. Agents say Hauff told many of the students he would increase their grades if they performed sexual acts.
Agents say many of those sexual acts happened at school during school hours. Agents say Hauff also asked the victims to send him nude photos of them on his cell phone.
The Atoka County District Attorney’s Office has charged Hauff with 11 felony counts, including two counts of second-degree rape, one count of forcible sodomy, four counts of solicitation of a minor, two counts of sexual battery, one count of showing obscene material to a minor, and one count of lewd or indecent proposal to a child under the age of 16.
Hauff’s bond has been set at $250,000. The OSBI believes there are victims of Hauff who have not been identified. Anyone with information is asked to contact the OSBI at 1-800-522-8017.
Kenton County KY March 31 2012 A Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleader was indicted Thursday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student when she was a teacher at Dixie Heights High School.
A Kenton County grand jury indicted Sarah Jones on first-degree sexual abuse. She was also indicted on a charge unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts. The charges are felonies that are each punishable by up to five years in prison.
Her mother Cheryl Jones was indicted on a charge of tampering with physical evidence in her daughter’s case. Cheryl Jones, the principal at Twenhofel Middle School in Independence, expressed surprise when informed by a reporter of her indictment. She referred all questions to her lawyer. The tampering charge is also a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The lawyer, Charles T. Lester Jr., confirmed he was representing Cheryl Jones, in addition to her daughter, but declined to comment. In a written statement released later, Lester said both women will be pleading not guilty.
“Sarah has maintained her innocence. The indictment of her mother is completely baseless,” the statement noted.
Both women were booked into Kenton County jail on Thursday. Cash bonds were set at $50,000 for Sarah Jones and $30,000 for Cheryl Jones. The daughter and mother are scheduled to be arraigned April 2 before Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe.
Kenton County School District Superintendent Terri Cox-Cruey placed Cheryl Jones on administrative leave upon learning of the indictment. She said she had not been aware that Cheryl Jones was under investigation.
Sarah Jones, who is team captain of the cheerleading squad, resigned Nov. 30 from Dixie Heights in Edgewood where she taught freshman English for about five years. Jones cited “personal reasons” in a one-sentence resignation letter. She was 26 years old.
Cox-Cruey said she also didn’t know there was an investigation of Sarah Jones until the day the teacher resigned. Cox-Cruey said she didn’t have an opportunity to question Sarah Jones or conduct an internal investigation.
She emphasized that the indictments stem from a police investigation that, for the most part, was kept secret from the school district.
The board that certifies teachers in Kentucky said its disciplinary proceedings against Sarah Jones would likely be held in abeyance pending outcome of the criminal case. A spokeswoman for the Educational Professional Standards Board in Frankfort said they did not have an open case against Cheryl Jones, but the felony indictment would likely trigger one.
The board issues and renews certification for all Kentucky administrators and teachers. If there is a complaint against a teacher, it goes through the board, which has the power to revoke or suspend certification.
When the existence of the criminal investigation of Sarah Jones became public in December, her attorney at the time, Eric Deters, went on his radio talk show and the Internet to defend his client.
“Sarah denies it completely and apparently the quote, un quote ‘victim’ denies it and is not cooperating … and his parents are upset Sarah is having to go through this which is not usually the case in these situations,” Deters said in December.
Lester, the Joneses’ current attorney is a partner in Deters’ law firm. Deters is serving a suspension from the practice of law in Kentucky for 180 days, or less, according to the state bar association’s website.
Deters also represented a former Dayton High School teacher who was found not guilty of first-degree sexual abuse. Nicole Howell, who was 26 at the time, was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old football player four or five times at her MainStrasse apartment.
Howell’s case was one of the first to be prosecuted under a more-stringent state law that makes it a felony for a person in authority to have even consensual sexual relations with someone under 18. In all other instances in Kentucky, the age of consent is considered to be 16.
Sarah Jones gained national attention in 2009 when she sued online gossip site TheDirty.com and its operator, Nik Richie, after unflattering pictures of her appeared with allegations that she’d had sex with Bengals players and had two sexually transmitted diseases. The photos and comments had been provided anonymously.
Her case is being watched closely by First Amendment and technology experts after U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled that TheDirty.com and Richie were not shielded from liability. The decision, issued in January, was seen as a departure from numerous other rulings protecting website operators who display defamatory third-party content.
TheDirty.com has appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, and Sarah Jones has gone on TV shows from “20/20” to “Anderson Cooper 360” talking about the embarrassment and public scrutiny she faced after the online postings.
Sarah Jones claimed the school district had to block the website because so many students were viewing the site on school computers. The high school principal at the time even reviewed security camera footage after one post on the website alleged Sarah Jones was having sex in her classroom, The Enquirer previously reported.
Bengals’ spokesman Jack Brennan said “the club is aware of the situation, and it’s an ongoing process to collect the information that can guide appropriate actions as warranted. At this time, we are guided by our general policy that it’s not appropriate to comment on legal matters yet to be resolved.”
He added that tryouts and auditions for the 2012 squad are yet to begin.
SHELBY COUNTY, AL March 31 2012 - The Shelby County Board of Education says a teacher and band director at Oak Mountain Middle School has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse.
The BOE names the teacher as 38-year-old Jeffrey Scott Atkins of Alabaster, and says he has been placed on administrative leave by the school district as it conducts an investigation into the charges.
The Shelby County BOE contacted Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, March 28, requesting help in an investigation of possible inappropriate contact between Atkins and a student, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“Investigators determined that communication between the teacher and the student using phone texts and social media outlets was sexual in nature,” the sheriff’s press release says.
Investigators tried to locate Atkins for questioning on Wednesday. They eventually found him and detained him in Montgomery County on Thursday, March 29.
“The charges against Mr. Atkins are allegations at this point. However, the allegations are of the upmost gravity in that they implicate unprofessional conduct by a teacher towards a student,” said Shelby County Superintendent Randy Fuller.
Atkins has been with Shelby County since 1999, the whole time at Oak Mountain Middle School.
He has no prior incidents of misconduct and passed a criminal background check in October or 1999.
Atkins is charged with the following:
-3 counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree. Each count has a bond set at $100,000.
-1 count of Enticing a Child to Enter a Vehicle, House, etc., for Immoral Purposes. Bond set at $100,000.
-1 count of Electronic Solicitation of a Child. Bond set at $150,000.
-1 count of School Employee having Sexual Contact with a student Under the Age of 19 Years. Bond set at $5,000.
Atkins’ total bond is set at $555,000. He is currently in the Shelby County Jail.
According to a bio page for “Jeff Atkins–Director of Middle School Bands” on the Oak Mountain Middle School band website, Atkins is married with three children and actively involved in music ministry at Riverside Baptist Church. His bio also says he graduated from the University of Alabama, played in the Million Dollar Band and also worked as a teacher at Shelby Academy, Bottenfield Jr. High School, and Minor High School.
In a release about the arrest, Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry urges parents to vigilantly check their children’s phones, computers and social media accounts for any type of inappropriate contact or activity.
“This case, while still under investigation, reaffirms how carefully we have to guard our children and protect them from the perils of this world,” Curry said.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office directly at (205)669-4181, through the Secret Witness line at (205)669-9116 or through our website at http://www.ShelbySO.com by clicking on the “Report Criminal Activity” link and choosing the “General Information” category.
San Anotnio TX March 31 2012 A shooting suspect is in the hospital after a security guard returned fire outside a west-side nightclub. The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. Friday in the 6800 block of Ingram Road.
Police say as club-goers were leaving the G Bar, two men fired multiple rounds into the air and then fired at least two shots at a security guard.
They say, In fear for his life, the security guard reached for his weapon and returned fire striking one assailant in the leg.
The wounded suspect was taken to University Hospital in stable condition. The other suspect fled on foot and is still on the run. The security guard was not injured.
Detectives took several witnesses downtown for questioning.
Police recovered two semi-automatic weapons in the suspect’s truck. Police say when he gets out of the hospital he will be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
WILMER, Alabama March 31 2012– Mobile County Sheriff’s deputies arrested three burglars who crashed into a business, took an ATM and confessed to the crime, officials said in a news release.
Deputies responded about 1:50 a.m. to a burglar alarm at Wilmer Grocery on Moffett and Wilmer roads. When they arrived, a black Chevrolet truck occupied by several black males left the business at a high rate of speed.
Deputies pursued. The burglars lost control of the vehicle and wrecked at Schillinger and Crary Station roads, officials said. County investigators learned the Mobile Police Department had reported the vehicle as stolen.
All three men were arrested and two were taken to the University of South Alabama Medical Center for minor injuries sustained during the wreck.
Henderson Pippins, 32, of Prichard; Cedric Yates, 33, of Mobile; and Brandon Nobles, 26, of Mobile, remain in Mobile County Metro Jail this morning. All three are charged with third-degree burglary, first-degree receiving stolen property and eluding police.
Bail for Nobles is set at $11,500, jail records show. Bail for Pippins and Yates is set at $11,250, records show.
The suspects confessed to burglarizing the business and taking the ATM, officials said.
Deputies said they believes the men are responsible for the thefts of other ATMs taken from other local businesses.
The Texas court reheard the case after a federal appeals court questioned its first ruling. But the new ruling is essentially the same and says that if an act of nature erodes a beach, the landowner’s right to the remaining property is not diminished by state law, even if it is now part of the beach.
The Open Beaches Act states that a beach up to the vegetation line is open to the public. But following Hurricane Rita, the beach in Galveston shrank and moved onto private property, prompting a lawsuit. The court ruling Friday gives ownership of the beach to the property owner.
“It seems that the Open beach Act — at least for Galveston’s West End — is dead, thanks to the Supreme Court,” Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. “This is truly a sad day.”
Patterson said the ruling ends any future possibility of much-needed beach renourishment projects for Galveston island’s rapidly eroding west end and will make it impossible for the state to step in quickly to clear the beach of debris after the next hurricane demolishes the front row.
After Hurricanes Ike and Dolly, the General Land Office spent $43 million to remove debris from the state’s beaches and bays.
“This ruling is bad news for Galveston,” Patterson said. “It also gives a pretty big club to anyone who wants to challenge the Texas Open Beaches Act anywhere else along the coast.”
According to a decision rendered by a three-judge state appellate court, Brian LeSage of Berkeley Heights sued JC Penney and the mall for negligence after claiming he was assaulted while urinating in a JC Penney restroom on Sept. 14, 2003.
Court papers say LeSage stopped in the mall to use the men’s room on the way to a coin show in Burlington. LeSage testified that he recalled “being pushed or feeling something touch his back” but
recalled little else before he was found on his knees on the men’s room floor at about 11:20 that morning.
In a premises liability action, LeSage was joined as a plaintiff by his wife, Donna. They attempted to prove that someone assaulted Brian, that JC Penney negligently provided security in the men’s room and that the negligence was the proximate cause of traumatic head injuries that Lesage claimed he suffered in the assault. LeSage, who was 58 at the time, lapsed into a coma for two weeks after the incident. He also claimed he was missing $400 cash from his pocket after the attack.
During the jury trial in Superior Court, New Brunswick, in March 2008, JC Penney suggested that LeSage might have confused the touching with that of persons assisting him after the incident. JC Penney also introduced evidence that LeSage had fainted while urinating at his home three months earlier. LeSage’s personal physician testified that the fainting resulted from low blood pressure brought on, in part, by dehydration.
At trial, the jury delivered an 8-0 verdict after deliberating 90 minutes, finding that JC Penney was not negligent. The jury, therefore, did not have to decide whether the negligence was the proximate cause of LeSage’s injury or what damages would compensate him.
The trial court also granted summary judgment to Woodbridge Center mall, which it said owed no duty to secure the restroom on the premises JC Penney owned.
LeSage, his wife, their attorney or the attorney for JC Penny could be immediately reached for comment.
The Biloxi link to the crimes was made public after the arrest Monday of 31-year-old Christopher Patrick Gunn of Montgomery, Ala. Federal court records show the Biloxi Police Department is one of several law enforcement agencies that notified the FBI of Gunn’s alleged activity.
Gunn also is accused of threatening to contact the girls’ parents or school officials if they didn’t send him sexually explicit pictures or if they refused to talk with him via Skype video calls. In other instances, he allegedly used “spoofing” technology to call them so it appeared the call was coming from their school.
A criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent in Alabama alleges Gunn, for more than a year, created fake Facebook profiles under several names while he befriended young girls over the Internet.
He sent “friend requests” or chat messages to more than 250 girls in the Montgomery area alone within a four-month period in 2011, the complaint said.
Authorities believe he also targeted girls in Biloxi, Prattville, Ala., and Livingston Parish, La.
Biloxi police in September told the FBI of complaints involving a fake profile under the name of Dalton Powers. In other regions, the fake names used were Tyler Mielke, Jason Lempke, C.J. Harper, Dalton Walthers, Daniel Rodgers and Justin Babin.
The FBI alleges Gunn began chatting with his new Facebook friends to gain their trust, then asked about the girls’ bra size, asked about their sex life and for pictures of their breasts.
In some instances, Gunn allegedly threatened to email their sexually explicit conversations to their principals or post them on Facebook if they didn’t send him their pictures. Some girls in Prattville received phone calls with the caller ID indicating the calls came from their high school when the calls reportedly were from Gunn.
Biloxi police and other officials uncovered an IP address where the communications were coming from and reported their findings to the FBI. In some of the incidents, Gunn allegedly sent the messages from a Montgomery home as he visited a friend who was house-sitting while the owners were out of town.
In other incidents, Gunn reportedly used the wireless network at his father’s house in Livingston Parish, La.
The complaint said authorities seized his computers and cellphone, and found child-porn videos on his computer hard drive along with sexually explicit pictures of minors.
Some of the pictures reportedly are of girls ages 12, 14 and 15, two of whom were filmed while performing lewd acts on a web cam.
Gunn is held without bond pending further court action. His case is being prosecuted in federal court in Montgomery.
Sarn Teurn, 32, now faces a felony drug charge in federal court for possessing 1,230 grams of methamphetamine. The powerful stimulant was in plastic bags and shoved inside the body cavities of five thawing chickens, the charging document says.
Among those who helped bust Teurn were California detective Chris Rogers, his police dog, Maya, Alaska State Trooper Ricky Pawlak, Airport Police Officer Andres Gomez, and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Rikk Rambo.
Pawlak, who wrote the charging affidavit, found out March 20 that Teurn bought a one-way ticket to fly from Sacramento, Calif., to Anchorage. It’s unclear from the charging document why he was tracking Teurn’s movements.
Rogers and Maya apparently trailed Teurn to an airport in Sacramento on Tuesday. According to the charges, Teurn checked two pieces of luggage for his Alaska Airlines flight: a black bag and a blue plastic tote with a “FROZEN” sticker on it.
Maya sniffed the bag and tote away from Teurn’s view, the charges say. She ignored the bag and alerted Rogers to the odor of drugs in the tote. Teurn, his bag and the tote went on the plane. In Alaska, Trooper Pawlak went to work getting a warrant to search Teurn and his items.
Rambo, Gomez and Pawlak met Teurn at his arriving gate about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday in Anchorage. They told him about the search warrant and took him to a police office in the airport, the charges say.
Pawlak opened the tote and found five partially frozen chicken carcasses, he wrote. Each had a bag of methamphetamine inside, for a total 1,230.3 grams. The weight indicated Teurn intended to sell the drug, Pawlak wrote.
“Moreover, based upon my own experience, the placement of any amount of methamphetamine in the five chickens was not accidental and would not have escaped the attention of anyone who had packed them into the tote,” Pawlak wrote.
Teurn said he packed the tote but that he didn’t know anything about the methamphetamine, the charges say.
“He did, however, say that a person who he declined to identify, had offered to pay him $2,500 to transport the tote to Alaska,” Pawlak wrote.
Felicia Dozier, 58, was charged with shoplifting and sent to the Morris County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail with no 10 percent option.
Burlington Coat Factory security contacted police after the security officer saw a vehicle in the parking lot which was the same vehicle that was suspected for involvement in a shoplifting incident at the department store the week prior, police said. While security guards were speaking with police, security was alerted that a female, Dozier, had allegedly exited the store with stolen merchandise.
Police said the value of the merchandise was between $200 and $500.
Dozier was arrested and transported to the Montville Township Police Department before being transported to the jail.
Conn woman sentenced to more than eight years in prison for $6 million scheme www.privateofficer.com
Susan Curtis was sentenced Thursday in U.S. district court in Bridgeport. She pleaded guilty to bank fraud and tax charges.
Federal authorities say Curtis was working for the property services division of Webster Bank when she duped it into paying $5 million in fees to two companies she and her husband established.
U.S. Attorney David Fein said Curtis stole from her employer to buy luxuries such as cruises and artwork. He said the lengthy prison term is appropriate.
Her husband, Kevin Caffrey, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to bank fraud and filing a false tax return.
JACKSON COUNTY, MS March 31 2012 - An administrator of an Ocean Springs personal care home will serve eight years in prison for taking more than $60,000 from a elderly war veteran.
During Thursday’s sentencing, several fellow veterans came out to show support for the family of 82-year-old Donald Dahl, who has since passed away.
Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry said Melissa Elaine Webster, 41, was arrested and charged with eight counts of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult in 2010. She ended up pleading guilty to three counts. Perry said Webster will also have to pay Dahl’s family the money she stole from their loved one.
“What happened to our father can happen to anybody if there is a person who is unethical and not honest when involved in the care of the elderly. So we are very happy,” said Dahl’s daughter, Cathy McSteen said.
The assistant attorney general said once Webster serves her eight years in prison, it will be followed by two more years of post-release supervision.
Richmond VA March 31 2012 The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, with help from the Virginia State Police, recently busted illegal moonshine stills in three counties, including Pittsylvania County.
The Virginia ABC and Virginia State Police Air Division conducted an air and ground operation this month that resulted in discovery and destruction of 25 illegal stills and liquor-making supplies in Pittsylvania, Franklin and Carroll counties, said Carol Mawyer, public relations specialist with the Virginia ABC, in a news release Friday.
The stills were inactive but operational, Mawyer said in the release.
The air and ground operation took place March 15, 16, 26 and 27. The team flew over 51 pre-determined sites searching for stills and illegal distilling apparatus. Agents seized and destroyed more than three dozen 800- and 400-gallon black pot stills and other paraphernalia used for the manufacture and distribution of illegal whiskey, Mawyer said in the release.
There were 13 suspected still sites in Pittsylvania County, ABC Special Agent in Charge J. Chris Goodman told the Danville Register & Bee. Goodman could not say how many of those sites were discovered and destroyed in Pittsylvania County because investigators are processing information from the operation.
Agents also found 15 inoperable stills destroyed in previous busts, Mawyer said in the release.
The joint operation was the culmination of a two-year investigation on the manufacturing of illegal whiskey in the three counties, Mawyer said in the release. ABC agents gathered information before making a list of suspected sites, Goodman said.
Arrests are possible, pending discussions with prosecutors, , Goodman said.
Site locations cannot be disclosed because spin-off investigations are anticipated from the busts. Also, most of the sites were just GPS coordinates with investigators paying no attention to names of the communities, Goodman said.
The sites were destroyed because it was not feasible to remove them, Goodman said
Roseville MI March 30 2012 Two Kmart store security officers were shot and injured Monday evening when a suspected shoplifter shot at them, the bullet hit the floor and fragments struck them, according to Roseville police.
The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Kmart Super Center on Frazho Road. Police said in a news release that loss prevention agents at the store saw the man remove security tags from a Blu-ray player, DVDs and other electronic devices.
He concealed them in a hoodie and was exiting the store when the employees approached him and attempted to take him into custody, the release said.
The man fought the employees, pulled a revolver from his pants and fired one round at the store security officers, the release said.
Both employees had minor injuries from shrapnel and were treated at a local hospital.
The suspected shoplifter ran to a waiting Chrysler Sebring driven by a woman, the release said. She sped off, and officers spotted the car traveling on westbound I-94 at 10 Mile.
According to the release, the woman refused to pull over and led officers on a high-speed chase. She then stopped the car in the area of Harper and I-94, and the man got out and ran. Police used tracking dogs but were unable to find the man.
The woman was arrested and has been identified as Javon Nicole McCoy, 33, of Detroit, and she was charged Tuesday in 39th District Court with armed robbery, fourth-degree fleeing and eluding police and second-degree retail fraud, said Roseville Deputy Police Chief James Berlin.
If convicted of armed robbery, she faces life in prison. McCoy is at the Macomb County Jail on a $250,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court April 4 for a probable cause hearing.
Anyone who knows the man’s identity is asked to call Roseville police at 586-447-4483.
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC March 30 2012 – A former part-time detention offer who worked for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has been charged with felony possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff’s officials.
Authorities say 56-year-old Bryan Marshburn, of the 50 block of Burton Road in Southport, was charged Wednesday, and was immediately terminated from his position.
Officials say Marshburn also worked for the City of Boiling Spring Lakes. He apparently worked with Animal Control and Security for the city for about two years.
He is currently being held under a $5,000 bond.
Marshburn began working for the county in June of last year.
Pasadena police arrest 911 caller, alleging his fabrication led to the shooting www.privateofficer.com
Pasadena CA March 30 2012 The investigation into a controversial police killing of a college student last weekend took a dramatic twist Wednesday when Pasadena authorities arrested a 911 caller, alleging his fabrication led to the shooting.
An officer shot 19-year-old Kendrec McDade on a narrow street in the city’s Northwest district about 11 p.m. Saturday.
Police were dispatched to the scene after a man, identified as Oscar Carrillo, called 911. He said two armed men had stolen his laptop computer and backpack as he was buying tacos at a stand on Orange Grove Boulevard.
But on Wednesday, officials said that Carrillo, 26, lied to police about the existence of a gun and that detectives now believe neither McDade nor the other person were armed.
Carrillo was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. “Mr. Carrillo emphatically indicated a gun was involved … that is very important. It sets the platform for the mind-set of the responding officers,”
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said at a news conference Wednesday. On a 911 tape released by police, Carrillo is heard saying first that one of the suspects had a gun and later that both were armed.
Here is an excerpt: “Two guys … just put a gun in my face,” the caller said. “It was two guys…. Oh my God.” The dispatcher asked for details about the attackers and in which direction they fled. “Did they have any weapons?” the dispatcher asked.
”Yeah, they have a gun,” the caller responded. “Do you remember anything about the gun?” the dispatcher asked.
“Both have a gun, man,” the man said. “They run away from me.” Sanchez said that after more interviews, Carrillo admitted to detectives that he lied about the gun.
But Sanchez said a security camera video shows that the two young men were involved in the theft of a backpack from Carrillo’s car. Sanchez alleged that McDade was a lookout in the theft.
The officer who fired was sitting on the driver’s side of his cruiser. He shot McDade after the teenager allegedly made a motion toward his waistband, Pasadena police Lt. Phlunte Riddle said.
The officer used the cruiser to block McDade’s path, she said.
”It was close range less than 10 feet,” she said. A second officer, who was chasing McDade on foot, also opened fire, “fearing for [the] other officer’s safety,” Riddle said.
McDade, a football standout at Azusa High School who attended Citrus College, died of his injuries at Huntington Memorial Hospital. Police spent the next two days looking for a gun or the stolen laptop computer, but said they found neither.
The case has generated concern on the part of the American Civil Liberties Union as well as the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People. Seeking to appease those and other community concerns, Pasadena police asked the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Office of Independent Review to investigate the shooting.
Police officials have declined so far to release the officers’ names. The department has also put a security hold on McDade’s autopsy report. “There is a great number of questions unanswered here…. The bottom line is this young man was not armed when he was shot dead.
The underlying question is they said he is an armed robbery suspect, but they never recovered a gun,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, of Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, before the chief’s news conference. “He is not a gangbanger or a drug dealer.”
The shooting occurred in a neighborhood where tensions between African American residents and police have surfaced. McDade was African American.
Police did not reveal the race of the officers. Those who knew McDade said they cannot believe what happened. “He was a good kid who was never in trouble, never got suspended from school or anything like that,” said Joe Scherf, head football coach at Azusa High.
“His mother was always behind him, making sure he was doing the right thing.
I remember she pulled him out of practice when he got a really bad grade.” Sanchez began his news conference Wednesday by saying that the shooting was a “tragedy for the McDade family, the City of Pasadena and police officers.”
COLUMBIA, SC MRCH 30 2012 - When it comes to making the best of a bad situation, it’s tough to find a better team than Sgt. Lewis Marshall and his K-9 partner Lucky.
Only Lucky isn’t what you think of when you think of a deputy dog.
He’s a standard poodle.
“I said, ‘Tell you what, there’ll be no pink bows in his head, and his toenails won’t have to be painted. He’ll have to go like he is,’” Marshall said.
That’s good enough for the kids he sees on a weekly basis at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. Some are at the hospital for a few hours and others are there for weeks.
“When you first meet someone with him, his size does intimidate,” said Marshall.
But therapy training and tricks go a long way for a very large dog.
“By the time we leave, they’ve forgotten all about the pain,” Marshall said.
Marshall has combined a career in law enforcement with a lifelong passion for dogs. When you throw in his sense of humor, it’s easy to see why the staff also look forward to his visits.
But as much fun as he has, the job, inherently, can be rough.
“You go see these people, they become personal friends, and then some of them don’t make it,” Marshall said. “The kids, that tears me up when I get there and so-and-so’s gone.”
Moments of grief are easily outweighed by tender moments when the pain pauses.
“When he comes in, it’s out of this world to watch them,” Marshall said. “It really is.”
Virginia Beach couple arrested accused of embezzleing millions from the wife’s employer www.privateofficer.com
NORFOLK, Va. March 30 2012 - A Virginia Beach couple has been arrested following accusations they embezzled millions from the wife’s employer.
Terri Lynn Nagy-Phillips, 41, and Craig Phillips, 42, both of Portsmouth, Va, are facing charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud.
Last year, Continental Realty Service contacted the police department’s Economic Crime Unit to report that an employee had been embezzling money. According to the company, between January 2007 and October 2011 nearly $3 million was stolen from business accounts.
Based on an investigation by Virginia Beach police, a search warrant was executed on the couple’s Portsmouth home.
Teri was employed by Continental Realty Service. During their search, police say they recovered “substantial property linked to this embezzlement”.
Police also searched a warehouse storage facility in the 400 block of London Bridge Road in Virginia Beach.
According to police, the recovered items included; seven luxury vehicles, jewelry, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a transport trailer.
According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Neil MacBride, the couple made over $450,000 in fraudulent charges on a company credit card, including airfare and jewelry from a store located in the Caribbean.
Terri also allegedly wrote herself checks from her employer’s account, depositing the amounts into her and her husband’s bank account.
Private citizens may aid State Police to keep tabs on registered sex offenders www.privateofficer.com
Currently, State Police physically check the home and work addresses of registered sex offenders for compliance. But under a proposal in the new budget plan, 40 civilians would join their ranks, assisting them with the task.
“Once hired, the individuals will attend a two week training session to prepare them to assist our existing troopers in the Sex Offender Investigative Unit,” said Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police.
The civilians picked for patrol would also undergo an extensive background check.
In Hampton Roads, 10 troopers watch over more than 1,700 registered sex offenders. The plan would free up a number of troopers statewide for road patrols and other duties.
Mary Devoy, executive director of Reform Sex Offender Laws of Virginia , wants the more experienced state troopers to continue their watch.
“What we don’t want to see is ‘rent-a-cops’ who have had their 20 hours of training and a chip on their shoulder against those who bear the label sex offender,” Devoy explained.
If approved, civilian employees could start as soon as July. They would not be allowed to carry weapons but would get a vehicle to use.
Jeannine Seoane was placed on leave, according to McDonald. School officials did not confirm whether student went to Chapelle.
“This was in response to parental concerns reported to the school administration,” said a statement from McDonald. “Please know that as soon as we were made aware of these concerns, we contacted both officials with the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.”
McDonald added that officials are cooperating fully with the investigation.
Washington DC March 30 2012 Recent reports that some employers are asking job applicants for access to their social networks during the hiring process have raised questions about the legal liability of such practice.
This growing controversy is also at the center of proposed legislation in at least two states — Illinois and Maryland — that would ban government agencies from seeking social network access from their potential employees.
Civil rights groups are also questioning the legality of such practice. This week, the Virginia office of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to Virginia State Police, warning that it may be violating federal law by asking trooper applicants to access their social networks during the vetting process.
“Absent a concrete reason to believe that a potential employee is engaged in wrongdoing of which his Facebook account is likely to contain evidence, these communications are simply none of the Virginia State Police’s business,” according to the letter ACLU sent.
But the state police say reviewing applicants’ social media sites is “a necessary part of the overall background investigation process” and that such a comprehensive vetting process is needed to better serve and protect its citizens.
“Providing Virginia’s citizens with the highest quality and caliber of state troopers requires a comprehensive vetting process. The Virginia State Police is a unique public agency in the services it provides; therefore, in today’s society, the virtual character check is just as important as the ‘physical’ character check,” state police spokesperson Corinne Geller told Insurance Journal
We feel our investigative background process is necessary and appropriate for the job our applicants are expected to do and the authority granted to such individuals upon being hired on to the Virginia State Police.” She also said that if a person should refuse to sign the waiver, then the process is stopped and the application is taken under review — in the context of the entire application process.
“State police received the ACLU’s letter Tuesday. It’s being evaluated and we will respond back to the ACLU as appropriate. In the meantime, we will continue our existing hiring practices,” Geller said.
At Virginia State Police, the social-media component of its background investigation process for trooper applicants went into effect January 2012. So far, no one has refused a background investigator access to his/her social media sites, according to the state police. “No one, to date, has been refused employment resulting from content featured on his/her social media site.”
With the rising popularity and usage of social media, it became a necessary part of the overall background investigation process, according to the Virginia State Police.
Geller explained that the background investigation for applicants starts with a one-on-one meeting with applicant investigator. At the end of the interview, the applicant is provided a waiver to sign and date that allows the applicant investigator to review that individual’s social media sites.
The waiver also requires the applicant to list all social media sites he/she subscribes to. The applicant investigator hands the applicant a state police laptop and is asked to log on to those sites for the background investigator to review. The investigator does not ask for the applicant’s passwords.
“There has been much discussion among public safety organizations and the International Association of Chiefs of Police — of which Virginia State Police is a member — of how to address the role and importance of social media in the vetting process for future law enforcement professionals,” the spokesperson said.
“State police has followed the same course many other law enforcement agencies have implemented nationwide.”