NEWARK, Del. – May 21, 2013 — A teacher and baseball coach from Appoquinimink High School in Middletown, Delaware has been arrested for alleged indecent exposure.
Charles C. Word, 31, of Newark, was arrested for the incident on Sunday morning.
According to Newark Police, Word was driving his silver Dodge Charger on South Chapel Street near Delaware Avenue when he allegedly stopped to ask a 22-year-old woman for directions.
Police say the woman approached the vehicle to find Word’s pants were down and his genitals were exposed.
The woman walked away, police say, but Word pulled up a second time and tried to talk to her.
The woman said she was going to call police and that’s when Word drove away, investigators said.
Officers used surveillance video to get the registration number of the vehicle and were able to identify Word as the driver.
Police found him at his home on Sandalwood Drive and took him into custody without incident. He was arraigned and released on $4,000 unsecured bail.
Appoquinimink High School posted a message on its website about the incident. The statement said Word has been placed on administrative leave.
Furthermore, school officials say, Word is not allowed to teach, coach or be on school premises.
The statement also made it clear that the charges against Word do not involve any students.
Suffolk County NY May 14 2013 Suffolk County Police arrested a man accused of stalking a Commack High School student, the school district announced Friday.
According to district officials, a high school student reported to a security guard that a man was standing by her car in the parking lot on May 9. The student told the security guard that she was familiar with man and that he had bothered her in the past. The security guard asked the man to leave the property, which he did, school officials said. The girl’s family followed the incident by filing a complaint with police. Police said the man returned to the school the next day and was seen in the hallway walking among students.
Dayo Chou, 31, of Northport, was arrested on May 10 on charges related to stalking in the fourth degree. Chou was also charged with trespassing and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree for carrying prescription drugs that police said were not prescribed to him.
The school district printed the following statement on its website after the initial incident May 9:
“The District’s main concern is the safety of our students and in conjunction with our security personnel and other staff, we will continue to do everything in our power to assure student and staff safety at all times. Should you encounter any suspicious persons on school grounds, or anyplace else, please contact the police immediately.”
Source: Commack Patch
West York Borough PA May 4 2013 The West York Borough Police have been charged twenty-two people for their involvement in a major organized retail crime ring.
James Giuffrida of West York, the leader of the organized crime ring, was previously arrested.
Officials say the number of arrests is now 133.
The following people, who reside in York, Lancaster, Adams and Perry Counties were charged in March with conspiracy to commit retail theft, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, conspiracy to receiving stolen property. Those arrested told police they committed the crimes to support their illegal drug addictions.
•Wesley Bentzel, 25, Spring Grove
•E. Allen Braun, 31, Airville
•Bradley Breon, 31, York
•Walter Brown III, 58, York
•Jackie Chronister II, 24, Hanover
•Nikki Collins, 31, Duncannon
•Crystal Colon, 25, Lancaster
•Kayla Crespo, 19, East Berlin
•Douglas Dahlen, 28, Hanover
•Jennifer Gibboney, 28, Duncannon
•Joshua Gorsuch, 21, Gettysburg
•Brittaney Harris, 20, Spring Grove
•Clinton Mann, 31, York
•Randall Meisen Jr, 25, McSherrystown
•Bobby Perez, 33, Lancaster
•Eric Rentzel, 35, York Haven
•Izayah Reyes, 18, Lancaster
•William Rivera Jr., 30, Lancaster
•Joel Robinson, 27, York
•Jennifer Sipe, 34, Wrightsville
•Jamie Reedy, 28, Delta
•Peter Trochin, 39, West York
The criminal charges for over 120 people, who were previously arrested, have been bound over to county court for trial, including James Giuffrida. The remaining suspects are still awaiting preliminary hearings.
On November 12, the West York Borough Police shut down James Giuffrida and the retail crime ring, which he operated out of his ‘Power House Graphix’ storefront at 1415 West Market Street.
13 corrections officers indicted in Md., accused of aiding gang’s drug scheme www.privateofficer.com
Baltimore MD April 24 2013 More than a dozen Maryland state prison guards helped a dangerous national gang operate a drug-trafficking and money-laundering scheme from behind bars that involved cash payments, sex and access to fancy cars, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Thirteen female corrections officers essentially handed over control of a Baltimore jail to gang leaders, prosecutors said. The officers were charged Tuesday in a federal racketeering indictment.
The indictment described a jailhouse seemingly out of control. Four corrections officers became pregnant by one inmate. Two of them got tattoos of the inmate’s first name, Tavon — one on her neck, the other on a wrist.
The guards allegedly helped leaders of the Black Guerilla Family run their criminal enterprise in jail by smuggling cellphones, prescription pills and other contraband in their underwear, shoes and hair. One gang leader allegedly used proceeds to buy luxury cars, including a Mercedes-Benz and a BMW, which he allowed some of the officers to drive.
“The inmates literally took over ‘the asylum,’ and the detention centers became safe havens for BGF,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt, using shorthand for the prison gang’s name.
The indictment, unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, puts the spotlight on the enduring power of gangs in jails and prisons. In particular, prosecutors were highly critical of Maryland’s facilities in Baltimore, with procedures and personnel that were “completely inadequate to prevent smuggling” and lacked “effective punishment.”
The Black Guerilla Family was founded in California in the 1960s but now operates nationwide in prisons and on the streets of major U.S. cities, including Baltimore. It arrived in Maryland’s prison system in the 1990s, according to the Justice Department, and is increasingly involved in narcotics trafficking, robbery, assault and homicides. By 2006, federal authorities say, the BGF had become the dominant gang at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Gary D. Maynard, head of the Maryland agency that oversees the prisons, appeared at the Baltimore news conference where prosecutors announced the charges, and took responsibility for ongoing problems.
“It’s totally on me. I don’t make any excuses,” said Maynard, who was appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2007, when the prison system was experiencing a spate of inmate violence and corrections officers’ complaints of staffing shortages. “We will move up the chain of command, and people will be held accountable.” A spokesman said late Tuesday that all of the officers have been suspended without pay and that the department will recommend that they be fired.
In a statement Tuesday, O’Malley said the indictment arose in part from the efforts of a Maryland prison task force that includes state and federal officials.
It comes at a sensitive time for the Democrat, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid. Aides have said that part of O’Malley’s political pitch would be his record as a “performance-driven” manager of state government. “We have zero tolerance for corruption among correctional officers, and we will continue striving to make all correctional facilities as secure as they can possibly be,” the governor said.
State Sen. Joseph M. Getty (R-Carroll), a member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the revelations, coupled with a recent string of inmate killings at Maryland prisons, were “a pretty harsh indictment” of O’Malley’s prison policies.
“This is frightening to us as legislators — the level of collusion that has existed between the correction officers and inmates,” Getty said
At the center of the investigation was an alleged leader of the Black Guerilla Family, Tavon White, who prosecutors said fathered five children with four of the corrections officers — Jennifer Owens, 31, of Randallstown; Katera Stevenson, 24, of Baltimore; Chania Brooks, 27, of Baltimore; and Tiffany Linder, 27, of Baltimore — since his incarceration on attempted murder charges in 2009.
In one wiretapped cellphone call in January, White, 36, of Baltimore, told an acquaintance: “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious. I make every final call in this jail.”
The prison guards were among 25 defendants, including inmates and outside suppliers, charged with racketeering and drug conspiracy. Twenty of the defendants are also charged in a money-laundering conspiracy. Defendants made initial appearances in court Tuesday; they face maximum prison time of 20 years on the racketeering and drug conspiracy charges. The online court docket did not list attorneys for the defendants. One of the defendants was killed in a robbery, prosecutors said, in the hours before the April 2 indictment was filed.
Four years ago, federal authorities in Baltimore targeted the BGF gang at the state prison in Baltimore, sending its reputed leader to prison for 12 years. In that case, prosecutors alleged that gang members, along with four prison guards who were also implicated, ordered hits from their cellphones and enjoyed salmon and Grey Goose vodka that had been smuggled in.
But the scope of corruption in the current case, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, was stunning.
“Correctional officers were in bed with BGF inmates,” he said. “We need to be able to rely on people within law enforcement — to make sure they are on our side.”
Court papers that were made public Tuesday point to a highly organized, profitable smuggling enterprise within the Baltimore City Detention Center and several connected facilities, including the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center.
According to an affidavit for search warrants for the homes of the prison guards, who were arrested Tuesday, gang leaders strategically recruited female officers who they thought had “low self-esteem and insecurities.”
Gang leaders also relied on other inmates, known as “working men,” whose jobs throughout the prison gave them greater flexibility to pick up and deliver contraband. Inmates then paid for the drugs and cellphones using 14-digit numbers from prepaid debit cards that had also been smuggled into the prisons.
Within Maryland’s detention facilities, staff workers are generally free to move within their assigned areas, according to department spokesman Rick Binetti. With identification, they can often move freely outside of their assigned locations.
In one instance, prosecutors described Officer Jasmin Jones allegedly standing guard outside a closet while Officer Kimberly Dennis had sex with inmate Derius Duncan.
Maynard said department policy prohibits such relationships between inmates and correctional officers but added that he was unaware of the specific allegations until the court documents were made public Tuesday.
Corrections officers also allegedly warned inmates about impending searches of cells, according to prosecutors. In January, White spread the word to other inmates in a cellphone call recorded by law enforcement: “I just got a message saying that they was going to pull a shakedown tonight. Let me call all these dudes in my phone and let them know.”
In prison, prosecutors said, White bragged about earning $16,000 during a slow month. Percocet pills that cost $10 outside the prison walls, for instance, went for three times as much behind bars. One-gram bags of marijuana sold for $50, a profit of about $1,000 per ounce, according to court documents.
White is also accused of using the money to buy cars for corrections officers to use.
Sen. Lisa A. Gladden (D-Baltimore), who works as a public defender in Baltimore when the legislature is not in session, said the large percentage of female corrections at the detention center contributed to the problem. “A lot of times, they become smitten with the inmates. [The inmates] talk really sweet and say really nice things, and the CO’s fall for them. You need to have a bunch of rough, ugly men.”
But Maynard, the state prison chief, said that the sex of the officers was not the issue. It is not uncommon, he said, for detention centers across the country to employ women. The issue, he said, was this particular group of “bad actors,” who were strategically targeted and were willing to break the law.
Source- Washington Post
Montgomery County MD April 12 2013 Montgomery County police are looking in to the possibility that a U.S. Army recruiter believed to have killed a 17-year-old U.S. Army Reserves recruit may have had inappropriate relationships with other teen girls in the county, sources told News4′s Pat Collins.
Staff Sgt. Adam Arndt, 31, fatally shot 17-year-old Michelle Lynne Miller then killed himself inside his home in the 12900 block of Pinnacle Drive in Germantown, Md., police said.
Friends told investigators that Michelle had a romantic relationship with Arndt.
Michelle had signed up to enter the Army Reserves after graduation from Rockville High School this year. Kevin Miller, Michelle’s father, said that he had not met Arndt, but that his daughter had seemed “a little smitten with this guy,” the Associated Press reported. However, he said he didn’t believe there was a romantic relationship between the two.
Miller said he believed Arndt — a nine-year veteran of the Army who had served in Korea, Germany and Turkey — was the “man above her recruiter.” He thinks his daughter met Arndt about four or five months ago.
Police said it’s possible Arndt victimized other teenage girls.
“Investigators are reaching out to others, both men and women, who may have had contact with him professionally as part of this recruitment process,” said Paul Starks, of Montgomery County police.
Police are checking Arndt’s emails and phone records and visiting high schools in the county.
Arndt worked at a military recruiting office in Gaithersburg as a member of the Baltimore recruiting battalion, Spencer reported. His duties included visiting schools, the AP reported. Army recruiters are barred from having personal relationships with recruits.
His 21-year-old wife, who was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., at the time of the shooting, would visit on the weekend, News4′s Chris Gordon reported. She signed up at the recruitment office where Arndt worked, but it’s unknown if Arndt recruited her, Collins reported.
Michelle wanted to someday become a military psychotherapist and work with wounded warriors, family members said, but it appears that her willingness to help may have taken her life.
Michelle’s grandmother hopes the teen will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, saying she planned to join the U.S. Army Reserves after high school and died doing what she hoped to do in the Army.
“I feel that she died a hero’s death trying to save someone else, and it cost her her life,” said Dr. Alice Miller. “And her family, because the Army meant so much to her, they want her buried with honors at Arlington Cemetery. I’m hoping you can get a congressman to hear this, because they say she wasn’t officially inducted. She was due to be. She wasn’t inducted because a soldier killed her.”
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., released this statement: “I will be paying close attention to the details that emerge and I will work with local, state and federal officials to determine whether we can learn any lessons that might prevent a similar tragedy in the future.”
Kevin Miller said Michelle received a call or text about 9 p.m. Sunday from someone whom she said was suicidal, reported News4′s Darcy Spencer.
Michelle left their Rockville home at about 9:15 p.m. to help that person. Miller said he was opposed to her leaving, but his daughter said she would be fine and promised to text him the address when she arrived.
Kevin Miller said he got a “vague” text from her about the location, but she then stopped responding to his texts and calls, the AP reported.
Spencer reported that one of Michelle’s friends said she received some texts from Michelle’s phone. One text said Michelle loved her friend. The final one said, “Goodbye.”
Family members told Spencer they believe the texts were sent by Arndt.
Michelle’s friend gave Kevin Miller details about where she might be. He drove to the location and saw Michelle’s car. No one answered the door, so he called police, the AP reported.
Officers went to the home about 8:50 a.m. Monday.
After failing to communicate with anyone inside, police broke into the home after 10 a.m. and found the bodies of Arndt and Michelle, police said.
Police found a firearm inside the house and are not looking for other suspects.
“Her whole ambition was to be a psychotherapist in the Army, and she wanted to help wounded warriors and the men with PTSD and the women,” her grandmother said. “That’s what I thought she was doing when she answered that phone call. He called and said he was suicidal, and so she went to save him, and instead, he put a bullet in her head.”
Neighbors told News4′s Jim Rosenfield that Arndt seemed to be a pleasant neighbor.
They also said they’d seen Michelle Miller’s car parked on Arndt’s street before but didn’t recognize her picture.
“It’s very startling,” said a neighbor. “It’s crazy to think this is all going on our street.”
The neighbor said she used to see Arndt walking his dog. “He was pleasant. I didn’t have a lot of interaction with him….” she said. “I had seen people coming and going pretty regularly. He seemed to be a social guy.”
Family members and fellow students held an emotional memorial for Miller on Tuesday night.
Monday afternoon, Rockville High School sent a letter home to parents that read in part:
“For those of you who knew Michelle, we ask that you remember and celebrate her life. She was currently an athlete on our varsity lacrosse team, an honors/AP student, and an active member of the Senior Class. For those of you who did not know Michelle, we ask that you respect our sadness and support us with your understanding.”
A classmate said she was shocked to hear the news.
“I was frozen in place. I felt like I couldn’t move or breathe. I couldn’t believe it,” student Emily Kjellman told Spencer.
“Everyone was crying and so all of us started crying,” she said.
“She was definitely one of the most popular girls in our school, but in a good way,” Kjellman said. “She was probably the most fun-loving person you’ll ever meet.”
Kevin Miller said Michelle had wanted to go into the Army since elementary school.
“She wanted to serve her country; she wanted to see the world; she wanted to finance her education,” Kevin Miller said at his Rockville home Monday evening, according to the AP.
Michelle lettered in basketball, soccer and lacrosse at Rockville High.
Counselors were at Rockville High Tuesday to speak with students there after a senior was found dead Monday morning.
“Everyone knows her, so it’s kind of like shocking that she’s gone from our community, so that whenever we walk in school we won’t be seeing her in our classes,” basketball teammate Hellen Kim said.
Michelle’s lacrosse coach said she was the sparkplug of the team.
“She cared about everybody,” Caitlin Ulmer said. “She wanted to be a therapist. She wanted to help people, particularly people who suffered through combat, and I think the military was going to provide her with an amazing opportunity to get that experience and really be able to touch lives.”
Twelve Defendants Charged with Federal Crimes for Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme www.privateofficer.com
Based on these federal charges and related state crimes, law enforcement officials are arresting 21 individuals today in Georgia, one defendant in Ohio, and one defendant in Florida, who are listed below.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “These indictments and arrests demonstrate the commitment of the United States Attorney’s Office to protecting the privacy of medical records and the hard-earned money of honest taxpayers. While April 15th is traditionally seen as the end of tax season, this investigation is ongoing. Our law enforcement partners will continue to trace electronically filed fraudulent tax returns to track down these identity thieves and put them in handcuffs.”
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot said, “Today’s announcement exemplifies IRS-Criminal Investigation’s intense focus and rigorous pursuit of perpetrators of identity theft and refund fraud. IRS is extremely grateful for the cooperation and assistance we have received from our partners at the local, state, and federal level. Be assured that IRS Criminal Investigation, with our law enforcement partners, will continue to be proactive in the investigation of those individuals who engage in similar behavior.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “Today’s extensive joint law enforcement actions resulting in almost two dozen arrests demonstrates the growing problem involving tax refund related fraud and, more importantly, the growing law enforcement response to address it. The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners, to include providing additional resources, to disrupt such groups engaged in these types of tax fraud activities.”
Statesboro Director of Public Safety Wendell Turner said, “The Statesboro Police Department has been working with our local and federal counterparts to apprehend the persons responsible for defrauding the government and individuals through a variety of criminal schemes. We are very proud of these partnerships and the results they yield for our citizens. This investigation is just another example of everyone working together, sharing resources, information, and expertise for the common good of our community.”
If convicted, each federal defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy charge, 20 years’ imprisonment for each count of filing fraudulent tax returns, 10 years’ imprisonment for the charge of misusing medical records, and a two-year mandatory, consecutive prison sentence for each charge of aggravated identity theft. Each of these charges also carries a fine of up to $250,000.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
FBI Special Agent Marcus Kirkland, IRS Special Agent Gwen Weston, and SPD Sgt. James Winskey, assisted by their agencies’ colleagues, are conducting the investigation that led to these indictments and arrests. Also assisting in today’s arrests are the U.S. Secret Service, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Probation Office, and the sheriff’s offices for Bulloch and Richmond Counties. Assistant United States Attorneys David Stewart and Lamont A. Belk are the federal prosecutors in these cases. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 341-7842.
List of 12 federal defendants with their ages and current residences:
- Erica Baldwin, 31, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Tracy Denson, 44, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Shakita Eason, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Yolando Edmond, 36, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Gloria Evans, 44, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Joshua Mincey, 20, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Porsche Pinkney, 19, of Augusta, Georgia
- Dwan Scott, 32, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Jenna Scott, 28, of Jacksonville, Florida
- Gregory Smith 21, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Tidaesha Taylor, 27, of College Park, Georgia
- Andrew Webb, 31,of Register, Georgia
List of 11 individuals arrested on state warrants with their ages and current residences:
- Santravis Jerrod Brown, 23, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Reginald Raynard Ellison, 29, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Sanchez Ortega Harden, 28, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Chrystal N. Harlie, 32, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Victoria Quinn Johnson (Baldwin), 28, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Sean Lee, 34, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Myron Kelsey Rawls, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Vera Richmond, 69, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Lanika Loyonda Walden (Mincey), 37, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Melissa Shantel Whitfield, 33, of Statesboro, Georgia
- Lasharett Genet Wilkerson, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia
In separate informations filed in U.S. District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Christopher Jarris Addison, 31, of Birmingham; Crystal Davis Blackmon, 27, of Bessemer; and Andre Clinton Dale, 45, of Mobile, with conspiring in 2011 to devise a scheme to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Combined, the three defendants were paid nearly $175,000 from the oil spill claims funds.
“The trust fund was designed to help remedy the damage done by the disastrous BP oil spill in 2010,” Vance said. “We are going to put criminals who fraudulently divert those funds from the victims of the oil spill in jail,” she said.
British Petroleum, which owned the Macondo oil well where the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, established the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in June 2010 for the purpose of administering and settling claims resulting from the oil spill disaster. A subsidiary of BP established the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust Fund in August 2010 to pay certain types of claims and expenses from the oil spill, including claims settled through the GCCF.
Addison, Blackmon, and Dale all are charged with independently agreeing to provide their Social Security numbers and bank account information to individuals, who are not named in the charging documents, so that those individuals could file fraudulent claims for lost wages to the GCCF. After the fraudulent claims were paid, Addison, Blackmon, and Dale each returned part of the money to the individuals who recruited them to participate in the scheme, according to the informations and plea agreements.
The GCCF paid Addison $77,942 from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust Fund on August 24, 2011, according to the court documents. On August 25, 2011, Addison gave the bulk of the payment to the two individuals who recruited him to the conspiracy, according to the documents.
Blackmon was recruited into the conspiracy by her cousin, who is not named in the court documents. She provided him with her bank account and personal identifying information and on August 2, 2011, received about $47,878 from the GCCF, according to her information and plea agreement. She paid about $35,533 of that to her cousin, according to the documents.
Dale received about $47,678 in claim funds on July 20, 2011. On July 26, 2011, according to his information and plea agreement, he paid $15,000 to one of the individuals who recruited him into the scheme.
The FBI investigated these cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Cornelius is prosecuting the cases.
FBI Press Release
ALEXANDRIA, VA March 9 2013 —Two Maryland men have been sentenced for engaging in a scheme to steal nearly $16 million from Vienna-based Southern Management Corporation’s (SMC) employee pension plan.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
Robert Fulton Rood IV, 44, of Potomac, Maryland, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and Nikolaos M. Hepler, 31, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton in Alexandria, Virginia. Both men pled guilty on October 23, 2012.
Rood conceived and led a scheme to defraud Southern Management Corporation Retirement Trust (SMCRT), a pension plan established by SMC for its employees. As of December 31, 2012, the plan’s assets were more than $30 million, and prior to April 2006, SMCRT generally managed its own investments, which included short-term, high-interest loans to real estate developers.
In April 2006, Rood persuaded SMC’s president and CEO to let Rood locate borrowers; negotiate loans to them; prepare the loan agreements, promissory notes, and trust deeds; and present loan application packages to the SMCRT loan committee, which would decide whether to purchase the proposed loans. If the committee decided to do so, it would wire the money to purchase the loan to a settlement company designated by Rood. Rood would use the money from SMCRT to fund the loan and would obtain from the borrower an executed loan agreement, promissory note, and trust deed, which he would assign to SMCRT. In most cases, the borrowers were not aware of SMCRT’s involvement in the process.
Rood represented to both SMCRT and the borrowers that he would set up escrow accounts for the payment of interest to SMCRT and for construction payments to the borrowers. Instead, the money from all the loans were co-mingled into Rood’s principal bank account. When the project was finished and sold, the borrower was to pay back the amount borrowed to SMCRT.
From April 2006 to around October 2007, Rood sold to SMCRT approximately 32 mortgage loans that he had originated, of which 24 went into default after they were funded by SMCRT. One loan, referred to as the “K Street” loan, never closed because the title company was unable to clear title to the property, and Rood simply kept the money that SMCRT paid him to purchase the loan. Two other loans—the “Eastern Shore” and “Accom” loans—involved SMCRT loans that the borrowers refinanced with different lenders and sent their payoffs to Rood, who kept the payoff money. In each case, Rood, assisted by Hepler, his employee, misrepresented to SMCRT that the loans were in place and performing satisfactorily, including Rood’s making of the monthly interest payments to SMCRT on the nonexistent loans.
When SMCRT requested an independent review of Rood’s accounts, Rood engaged Lloyd M. Mallory, a Maryland certified public accountant, to perform a review of the loans, loans, disbursements, and escrows. The accountant issued a report, which was actually prepared by Rood and Hepler, that falsely showed the status of the loans and the funds held by Rood. Mallory was sentenced to 24 months in prison on August 2, 2012, following his plea of guilty to the conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael E. Rich and Uzo E. Asonye prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.
New Haven CT Feb 19 2013 A New Haven school resource officer caught two bank robbery suspects while on traffic duty Wednesday morning.
Officer Albert McFadden has been reassigned to snow traffic control on Whalley Avenue while schools are closed. On Wednesday, McFadden heard a police radio broadcast about a man and woman who had just robbed a Citizens Bank branch in Woodbridge.
He noticed a silver Subaru station wagon fitting the description of the suspects’ vehicle driving toward his traffic checkpoint around 9:45 a.m. McFadden pulled the car over into a gas station at Whalley Avenue and Fitch Street and took the suspects into custody, police said.
Employees of the Citizens Bank were brought to the scene and positively identified the man and woman as the suspects who robbed the bank.
Woodbridge police arrested Jason Carasone, 39, of West Haven, and Katie Walkley, 31, of Milford.
Carasone is charged with robbery, larceny and conspiracy to commit each of those crimes. He is being held on $500,000 bond.
Walkley is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit larceny. She is being held on $300,000 bond.
Both suspects are scheduled to be in court Thursday.
Woodbridge police and the FBI are investigating the robbery.
Two Pascagoula men face life in prison after kidnapping retired university professor www.privateofficer.com
PASCAGOULA, MS Feb 16 2013
Two Pascagoula men face life in prison after allegedly kidnapping a retired university professor from his home in Fayette, Mississippi.
Arveanious “AV” Smith, 31, and Travis Jerome Washington, 18, were arrested Thursday by FBI agents and Pascagoula Police officers. Investigators said the two men assaulted and robbed the victim at his home on Tuesday, then took him and his vehicle across state lines into Louisiana. Around 4am on Valentine’s Day, the victim was released from his captors in Pascagoula.
Smith and Washington are being charged federally with Kidnapping. If convicted, they face penalties of up to a life sentence in federal prison.
Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI in Mississippi, said the pair will have initial appearances before Senior United States Magistrate Judge John M. Roper, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in Gulfport, on Friday, February 15.
Former Oklahoma Jail Superintendent and Assistant Jail Superintendent Indicted for Multiple Civil Rights Offenses www.privateofficer.com
U.S. Department of Justice
WASHINGTON DC Feb 15 2013 —A federal grand jury in Muskogee, Oklahoma has indicted Raymond A. Barnes, 42, and Christopher A. Brown, 31, the former jail superintendent and assistant jail superintendent, respectively, of the Muskogee County Jail (MCJ), on multiple counts of civil rights offenses related to allegations of excessive force on inmates at MCJ on or between August 2009 and May 2011. Brown is also charged with making material false statements to the FBI.
The indictment charges both Barnes and Brown with one count of conspiring to violate the rights of inmates housed at MCJ by assaulting inmates themselves or by directing other jailers employed by MCJ to do so. Specifically, the indictment alleges that as part the conspiracy, the defendants did the following: unjustifiably strike, assault, harm and physically punish inmates at MCJ who were restrained, compliant, and not posing a physical threat to anyone; organize “meet and greets,” whereby jailers would scare, punish, and harm incoming inmates from neighboring counties by throwing and slamming the handcuffed inmates to the ground upon their arrival at the MCJ; threaten to fire MCJ employees if they reported abusive behavior directly to the sheriff or to outside law enforcement authorities; require and encourage MCJ jailers to write incident reports that falsely justified uses of force and contained misleading or inaccurate accounts of what had occurred when force was used; and perpetuate an environment within the MCJ that allowed unlawful beatings and assaults against inmates to continue indefinitely and without consequence.
The indictment further charges the defendants with aiding and abetting each other in violating the rights of two different inmates when the MCJ jailers slammed and threw the inmates to the ground while they were handcuffed. The indictment alleges that these offenses resulted in bodily injury.
Brown is additionally charged with one count of making material false statements to the FBI. According to the indictment, Brown falsely claimed that during “meet and greets,” when an inmate from an out-of-county jail arrives at MCJ, the inmate is ordered out of the transport vehicle, and then is “gently placed” on the ground. The indictment alleges that this was false in that the defendant knew at the time of his statement to the FBI that during “meet and greets,” when an inmate arrived from an out-out-county jail, the MCJ jailers routinely threw and slammed inmates to the ground even though the inmates were restrained and not posing a physical threat to anyone.
Barnes and Brown face a maximum penalty of 10 years for each of the three civil rights offenses. Brown faces a maximum penalty of five years for making material false statements to the FBI.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Muskogee Resident Agency of the Oklahoma City Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Fara Gold and Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
ST. LOUIS MO Jan 30 2013- A City of St. Louis corrections officer is charged with attempted statutory sodomy and child molestation after inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old girl.
Tommie L. Hooks, 31, is charged with one count of second-degree attempted statutory sodomy and one count of second-degree child molestation.
Court documents indicate Hooks placed his hand in the teenager’s waistband in an attempt to engage in sexual activity.
He continued to touch the victim and she asked him to stop.
Bond information has not been released.
WARWICK RI Jan 21 2013 – Two Warwick brothers were arrested Friday night and charged with punching and stabbing a bouncer who evicted them from the Bank Street Tavern in the village, Town of Warwick police said.
The bouncer removed Carl Herrmann, 31, and Jerome Herrmann, because both had previously been banned from the tavern, police said.
The pair then returned, with Jerome Herrmann punching the bouncer in the face and Carl Herrmann stabbing him in the shoulder with a knife.
The bouncer was treated at St. Anthony’s, where he received stitches to his left shoulder and right cheek before being released.
Carl Herrmann was charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and two misdemeanors: second-degree menacing and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was sent to Orange County Jail on $5,000 cash bail and $15,000 bond.
Jerome Herrmann was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and released. He is due back in court at a later date.
York, PA – Jan 16 2013
A West Manheim Township Police officer’s badge was bent and torn from his uniform and his glasses were damaged when he tried to arrest a man inhaling dust remover in a store bathroom Saturday.
Kipp Ordean Wentz, 31, of Glenville, faces charges of aggravated assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, retail theft, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and illegal use of solvents and noxious substances.
He is in York County Prison on $50,000 bail.
Police said that at 1:23 p.m., Officer Gregory Seibert responded to the Walmart on Baltimore Pike for a report of a male inhaling dust remover — also known as “huffing” — in the men’s restroom.
Walmart employees called 911 after noticing a strong chemical odor in the rear of the store that burned their throats and eyes. When they checked the men’s restroom, they found Wentz in a stall inhaling dust remover, police said.
Seibert arrived and found Wentz locked in a stall huffing from two cans of dust remover spray he had taken from the store, police said.
Seibert kicked in the stall door after Wentz refused to unlock it. Wentz then aggressively resisted and fought with Seibert who used a Taser, which allowed him to get Wentz handcuffed, police said.
During the struggle, Seibert’s badge was bent and torn from his uniform and his glasses were damaged. Seibert was not injured; Wentz received a small abrasion on his face, police said.
Wentz was transported to Central Booking and arraigned by duty District Judge Scott Laird, who set bail at $50,000.
Michael Kevin Keller, 31, and Thomas MacElwee, 30, were arrested for investigation of numerous charges Thursday. MacElwee was arrested in Nibley, Cache County, while Keller was arrested in Eugene, Ore., said Logan Assistant Police Chief Jeff Curtis.
On Aug. 19, the Forest Service’s complex in Logan, 200 S. 700 West, was broken into, Curtis said. A trailer with a snowmobile, firefighting equipment and other tools belonging to the Forest Service were taken, including snowshoes, a backpack with a shovel kit, avalanche beacons, an orange rescue sled, several hundred dollars in clothing, and power tools, according to an arrest warrant filed in 1st District Court.
Through security surveillance video recorded by a nearby business, investigators were able to identify Keller, whom they learned would have also known the code to get through the gate at the complex because of his former ties to the Forest Service, the affidavit states. Detectives also learned that Keller had moved to Oregon, but had allegedly returned to Utah to visit during the weekend of Aug. 18.
Investigators also obtained information that led them to MacElwee’s residence, 2780 S. state Route 185. Several agencies served a search warrant on the house Thursday.
They found the missing trailer, which was in the process of being altered, the affidavit states. Part of the VIN number had been scratched out, all Forest Service markings had been removed, the inside of the trailer had been repainted and the outside was covered with a coat of primer and was being prepared to be repainted, Curtis said.
The snowmobile, however, was not there and remained missing as of Friday.
In addition to the trailer, “a ton of property” with ties to the Forest Service was seized as well as moderate amounts of meth, marijuana, cocaine and illegal mushrooms, Curtis said. A firearm was also found in the house.
MacElwee was booked into the Cache County Jail for investigation of possession of stolen property, altering of a VIN number, possession of a firearm by a restricted person and drug paraphernalia possession.
Both MacElwee and another man who was in the house claimed Keller had “masterminded” the theft of the trailer, according to court records.
Keller was charged in 1st District Court Thursday with theft, a second-degree felony, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
LAS VEGAS NV Sept 11 2012 – Two Clark County school teachers were arrested Monday in connection with having sex with a 16-year-old girl.
Bambi M, Dewey, 32, and John E. Stalmach, 31, were taken into custody and booked into the Henderson Detention Center. They were charged with solicitation of a minor to engage in acts constituting crime against nature charges. Stalmach was also charged with sexual conduct between certain employees of school and pupil.
The girl is a student of Basic High School in Henderson. The sexual conduct is alleged to have taken place in a Henderson house the couple shared, according to Henderson police.
Stalmach is also alleged to have had sex with the girl without Dewey. The sex acts are alleged to have happened between November 2011 and January 2012.
The girl was a student at Brown Junior High School when the couple taught there.
Dewy is being held on a $20,000 bond and Stalmach is being held on a $60,000 bond. They are due in Henderson Justice Court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Berks County teacher arrested following allegations of a sexual relationship with a student www.privateofficer.com
HARRISBURG PA Aug 8 2012 – A Berks County teacher and swimming coach was arrested today and charged with having a sexual relationship with a female student.
Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the defendant as Jonathan Bell, 31, 105 Colleen Court, Wyomissing, Berks County. Bell is swimming coach for Governor Mifflin High School. He currently is a teacher with the Exeter School District.
According to the criminal complaint, from December 2012 to June 2012 Bell engaged in a sexual relationship with a female student, who was 17-years old when the relationship began.
The charges state that Bell allegedly solicited the girl for nude photographs, performed a sexually graphic act for her on video and had at least one sexual encounter with her on school property.
Kelly emphasized that this remains an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Chief County Detective Michael Gombar of Berks County District Attorney’s Office at 610-478-7171.
Bell is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of corruption of minors and one count of criminal solicitation.
He was taken into custody this morning, preliminarily arraigned before Mohnton Magisterial District Judge Nicholas Bentz Jr. and held on $200,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
The case will be prosecuted in Berks County by Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye of the Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecution Section.
Kelly thanked the Governor Mifflin School District and the Exeter School District for their cooperation and assistance with the investigation. Kelly also thanked the Berks County District Attorney’s Office for their ongoing assistance.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama July 28 2012 – Birmingham police this afternoon announced they have filed charges against a man in the 2002 shooting death of Birmingham Police Officer Joseph Jerome Daniels.
Adam Bradford, 31, who is serving time in the St. Clair Correctional Facility on unrelated charges, was charged this morning with capital murder in the shooting death of Daniels, said cold case Detective Jody Jacobs. The charges were announced at a press conference this afternoon at Birmingham police headquarters.
Jacobs declined to say what led to the arrest but said “Bradford’s name did come up” when the investigation began in 2002. “This case is close to our hearts,” Jacobs said.
Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper said the case is ongoing and urged the public to provide any information they might have.
Bradford also is charged with attempted murder in connection with the injury to a patron during the shooting incident.
Daniels, 31, was killed Nov. 18, 2002, while off duty and not in uniform at Reno Chicken and Burgers on Graymont Avenue near his home. The 10-year police veteran was waiting to eat dinner when the gunman entered.
Investigators said the man ordered everyone inside to the floor, demanded money and fired several shots into the ceiling. Restaurant worker Albert Mitchell was shot in the back when he didn’t move fast enough.
Daniels pulled his gun, fired back and foiled the hold-up. He was shot several times in the chest during a struggle.
Daniels was survived by a son who his now 16, Jacobs said. Several of Daniels family members moved back to Birmingham from Florida, last week, Jacobs said.
Daniels mother is elated at the news of the arrest, Jacobs said.
“I am extremely proud of our cold case unit and their efforts in this case. These detectives chased down every lead, some involving out of town travel. The citizens of Birmingham should be proud of their professionalism and dedication to duty not just in this case but on a daily basis,” Roper said after the press conference.
Mayor William Bell also thanked investigators for their hard work.
“We will pursue anyone who takes the life of a police officer,” Bell said. “We will use any and all resources we have available.”
Bradford has a history of vehicle break-in, theft, and robbery charges dating back to 2002, according to court records.
In December 2003, Bradford pleaded guilty to theft and robbery charges. He was given a 20 year split sentence, with four years in prison and five years of supervised probation.
Court records also show that Bradford was still on probation for the robbery conviction in 2008. After failing to report to his probation officer for several months, Bradford’s probation was revoked in 2009 and he was sent back to prison.
According to the Alabama Department of Corrections website, Bradford’s release date is March 13, 2025.
Robert Waterman, 31, of Wrightstown, Burlington County, allegedly destroyed a computer hard drive in March 2010, while employed as a police officer, after FBI agents began investigating him for possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement today.
According to Fishman’s office, which cited a criminal indictment unsealed today, FBI agents from the bureau’s Philadelphia division began investigating Waterman on March 4, 2010. While interviewing him on that day, authorities allege, agents told him of the nature of their investigation. On the same day, authorities say, Waterman destroyed a computer hard drive with the intent to impede and obstruct the FBI’s investigation. Authorities recovered the hard drive the next day, according to the indictment.
Waterman, who appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider in Camden, is charged with one count of obstruction of justice. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
A call to Waterman’s public defender was not returned.
WELCH WV July 23 2012 — Two people have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of long-time War Mayor Tom Hatcher.
Hatcher’s daughter-in-law, Rebecca Lynn Hatcher, 31, of War and her brother, Earl Click, 26, originally of War and now of Grundy, Va., have both been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Hatcher’s death, according to Deputy Ron Blevins of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department.
Blevins said deputies with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department working in conjunction with agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations unit located and arrested Rebecca Hatcher and Click late Thursday night. Rebecca Hatcher was arrested in War and Click was taken into custody in Grundy, Va.
During a press conference Friday, Chief Deputy Mark Shelton declined to release a cause of death. Investigators may receive a report from the State Medical Examiner’s Office by Monday, he said.
Money taken from Hatcher’s home could be a partial motive behind his murder, Shelton said.
“After killing Mr. Hatcher, the two individuals did steal, take and carry away approximately $1,100 U.S. currency,” Shelton said in both arrest reports filed at the McDowell County Magistrate Clerk’s Office.
When asked if drugs were involved in the case, Shelton replied that it was “most likely” that the money was taken in order to purchase drugs.
Rebecca Hatcher was arraigned Friday morning before McDowell County Magistrate Richard VanDyke. She is being held without bond pending a hearing before a circuit court judge. A bond hearing could be conducted Monday or Tuesday.
Blevins said McDowell County authorities are working to extradite Click back to West Virginia. He is currently being held at the South-west Virginia Regional Jail in Haysi, Va.
Hatcher was found dead shortly before noon on Tuesday by city employees after he did not appear for work. Blevins said authorities expected foul play from the beginning.
Blevins said additional charges are pending in the case, which will be presented to the next session of the McDowell County grand jury.
Police initially reported that they didn’t suspect foul play in Hatcher’s death. Blevins said the sheriff’s department reluctantly released incorrect information to the media as part of the ongoing investigation.
During Friday’s press conference, Shelton said that he and other investigators proceeded cautiously until they had what was needed for arrest warrant.
“We thought that the scene was suspicious,” he told reporters. “But at the same time, we did not want to release any information due to the fact we knew who the two individuals were.”
“Actually Chief Field Deputy (Mark) Shelton and I are working on this together,” Blevins said early Friday. “He received some information in and around the War area that led us to a couple of different subjects that gave us information. That gave us enough information where we contacted the prosecuting attorney and he advised us we had enough to make the arrest.”
Investigators felt that the suspects could flee if they learned that foul play was suspected, Shelton said.
Rebecca Hatcher had been living at different locations, but the mayor’s home in War “was her primary residence,” Shelton said. She is being held at the Southwest Regional Jail in Holden.
Her estranged husband, John Hatcher, is currently incarcerated in a West Virginia prison, Shelton stated.
On her Facebook page, Rebecca Hatcher said she was “recently separated after 13 years of marriage.”
Tom Hatcher was 72 at the time of his death. He had served as mayor of War since 1997. Shelton, who is also the chief of police in War, said Hatcher would be missed.
“I worked with Mayor Hatcher for several years. He was a good man. The city of War is going to miss him greatly,” Shelton said.
Hatcher worked in the field of education for 48 years before returning home. He taught in the public schools in Morgantown from 1960 to 1965, then worked as an education and language arts professor at West Virginia University. He also worked as a public school administrator from 1991 to 1999.
Hatcher was active in the War Kiwanis Club and the Christ The King Catholic Church in War. He was a past president of the Clinch Mountain Militia, Sons of the American Revolution and was also a past president of the Tazewell County Historical Society.
There will be a closed casket visitation on Sunday, July 22, from 6-9 p.m. at Christ The King Catholic Church in War. A funeral mass will be held at the church on Monday, July 23 at 11 a.m. City of War employees and police will serve as pallbearers.
Source:Bluefield Daily Telegrapgh
The indictment charges the three with the armed robbery of the Navy Federal Credit Union on Branch Avenue in Clinton Sept. 20, 2011, the Walmart in the 6200 block of Annapolis Road in Hyattsville Oct. 7, 2011, and the Bowie Walmart Jan. 16, 2012.
All total, the trio netted close to $300,000 in the three robberies.
Davon Stephon Williams, 22, Jeffery Louis Adams, 33, and Antonio Lamont Gaithers, 31, all of Washington, D.C., are charged in the six count indictment with multiple counts of armed robbery and the use of a handgun during the commission of a felony.
In the robbery at the Bowie Walmart, the suspects pulled up to a Garda armored car that was picking up the weekend’s receipts. One suspect jumped out, pointed a gun at the Garda employee and grabbed several bags that contained over $88,000 in cash and $13,000 in checks.
The suspects then fled the scene in a van they had stolen from a D.C. charter school and dumped the van at a farm on Mill Branch Road and fled in another vehicle.
All three suspects remain in custody awaiting trial.
Milton police responded to the store manager’s call on July 9 about the three employees being detained for shoplifting.
The loss prevention officer was allegedly spotted shoplifting a laptop, an iPad, two cellphones, video games and other products worth approximately $3,500.
Another employee was spotted on video taking a laptop and two webcams worth just under $1,000. A third employee took in an even bigger haul, allegedly shoplifting items that included an iPad, a laptop, a flat panel TV, two cellphones, a PlayStation Portable game, all worth more than $5,300.
Milton police reported that two of the suspects provided signed, written statements about their involvement in shoplifting. The loss prevention officer allegedly was paid off by the other suspect to avoid getting in trouble. He would give the second suspect stolen items to be sold for cash.
All three suspects were charged with felony shoplifting on July 10, and were released from Fulton County Jail on July 11 on $5,000 bond:
•Derrick L. Gibson, 39, of Alpharetta
•Neil Chopra, 31, of Roswell
•Randell Eugene Manns, 48, of Johns Creek
Adolfo Gamez, 51, Javier Villarreal, 52, both of San Benito, and Esequiel Diaz, 31, of Harlingen, were charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor theft, Detective Rogelio Banda said.
Justice of the Peace Manuel Flores arraigned Gamez and Villarreal on $5,000 bail while setting a $5,000 personal recognizance bond on Diaz, Banda said.
“Another city employee came forth and said this happened over the weekend,” Banda said. “They were using city vehicles for personal benefit.”
The police department’s Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation which found the men used a city dump truck to haul about two cubic yards of asphalt millings to Gamez’s home on Pennsylvania Street, outside city limits, Banda said.
The asphalt millings were worth about $50, he said.
The men surrendered at the police station, Banda said.
Gamez had worked for the city since 2007, while Villarreal had worked there for four years and Diaz was hired last year, Banda said
Two Lakeland women , accused of shoplifting more than $70,000 worth of merchandise www.privateofficer.com
LAKELAND Fla July 10 2012
Two Lakeland women were arrested late Thursday, accused of shoplifting more than $70,000 worth of merchandise from stores in Hillsborough and Polk counties, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Nadia Blackburn, 29, of 6546 Evergreen Park Drive, and Stephanie Couture, 31, of 3120 Bonnybrook Drive South, were charged with grand theft following an investigation by Polk detectives that began in 2011.
The charges against the two women were filed by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution on Thursday. The two were arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail on Thursday night and released early Friday after posting $1,000 bail each, according to jail records.
Blackburn, who is a nurse with Bartow Regional Medical Center, and Couture, who operates Coupon Cutters Co., are accused of shoplifting from numerous stores and selling the items on eBay, according to sheriff’s detectives.
Blackburn operated under the eBay account name of NVBNautica and Couture operated the Always28smiling account.
Blackburn did not return a call for comment and attempts to reach Couture were unsuccessful.
“The women independently and together removed merchandise from stores using various concealment methods,” PCSO spokeswoman Donna Wood wrote in a press release. “Both women admitted to taking their children along during their shoplifting outings.”
While detectives were conducting an ongoing investigation of Blackburn, she was arrested by Hillsborough County deputies March 6, 2011, for shoplifting at J.C. Penney’s at the Brandon Town Center, according to reports. At the time, her son was with her, the press release said.
Wood said Polk detectives took the opportunity to question Blackburn about her activities. She told them she had been shoplifting for about 11 years and would sell the items on eBay for extra money, reports said.
Through research, Polk detectives learned her eBay account had been opened in July 2002, reports said.
At the time of her 2011 arrest, Polk detectives also questioned Blackburn’s husband, Paul Blackburn, Wood said. He first denied knowing about the alleged shoplifting, but in later interviews with detectives he said “he knew his wife routinely stole items, but he said he disapproved of the behavior.”
During the time of Paul Blackburn’s questioning, Couture arrived to help with the children, detectives wrote.
She initially denied knowing about her friend’s shoplifting, but later told detectives after learning of the ongoing investigation that Blackburn had taught her how to shoplift, according to reports.
After obtaining a search warrant for Blackburn’s Lakeland home, detectives found about $70,000 of merchandise from area stores. Some of the merchandise still had the price tag attached, reports said.