POLICE SERGEANT ACCUSED OF FRAUD, FIRED AND JAILED

Veteran Police Sergeant Falsified Work Records

St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar terminated a veteran police sergeant after a month long investigation into falsified police records.  Sgt. Monroe West, a 17 year veteran and leader of other officers in the department was arrested for two felony counts of schemes to defraud and a public servant falsifying official documents.  He was booked into the same jail he has taken others to for 17 years.  At this point in time he is presumed innocent and is afforded the same rights as any other person arrested and charged with a criminal offense.

The Sheriff Says the Sgt. Falsified His Time Card

Sgt. West brought attention to himself and was reported by other officers who noticed inaccuracies in his documentation.  In many police departments officers are allowed to work secondary employment for citizens and businesses.  The hours worked for secondary employment must be turned in to the officer’s department.  Here, West turned in paperwork showing he was working an off duty detail for pay ,as it turned out, during the same hours he was on the taxpayer’s clock as a supervising sergeant.  Apparently, this happened on several occasions according to Commander Chuck Mulligan of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office with the amount of double-dipping going into the thousands.  As in most fraud and deception cases, once a paper trail is established, the charges are hard to deny.  Here, the Sgt. was easily caught.

Jacksonville Officer Arrested for Official Misconduct, Falsifying Records and Grand Theft Jacksonville also had an officer arrested for the same type of false reporting in October of 2013, who resigned after being arrested for what started out as suspicious overtime submissions  investigated by the integrity unit.  Career Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer Dan Hamlin was arrested on 27 felony counts including grand theft, official misconduct and falsifying official records.  Most charges were dropped but he still faces five felony charges.  Hamlin stands accused of  turning in bogus overtime requests claiming hours he spent working on cases  with prosecutors preparing cases for trial.  The problem for Hamlin is  the integrity unit discovered that Hamlin was reporting hours on cases closed months before. He also stated he met to prepare for trial with certain prosecutors who have stated they never met with him, therefore, couldn’t have worked a case with him.  Investigators even recovered an eatery receipt from across town, on Hamlin’s bankcard, with his signature, for the exact time he was reportedly meeting with a prosecutor at the state attorney’s office.   According to the affidavit for the arrest warrant,  Hamlin’s fellow officers, as well as the judge who signed the warrant, believed  probable cause existed for 26 false submissions by Hamlin, each submission a felony charge.  The amount of money at issue was shockingly low, $4425.02 per records, compared to what this officer has lost and could face in the future.  Sgt. West was caught because he falsified records stating he was in two different places but at the same time.  Hamlin was caught because he falsified records stating he was working overtime prepping cases(which had been closed for months) for trial with certain state attorneys(who never met him).

All Fraud Cases Involve Planned Deception

The two veteran police officers mentioned above are not accused of solitary, isolated acts of deception.  They both have multiple counts and the behavior, as reported, went on for some time.  The question the departments and the local state attorneys should have to consider is obvious. The two respective agencies have now arrested two veteran officers, who are accused of bogus documentation and submissions in order to essentially steal.  Are the agencies, or maybe the local prosecutors they team up with to prosecute citizens on a daily basis, going to look backward and consider the chance that officers arrested for falsifying their own payroll records might just have falsified an arrest report or two? Is the public supposed to think these two veteran officers just recently decided to start lying?  Consideration should be given to past cases with these officers, innocent people could be in jail or prison.

The Forbess Law Firm has defended persons accused of the various types of criminal fraud commonly charged. If you or a friend or loved one thinks a potential fraud arrest is looming, speak to a criminal defense firm right away.  It does not have to be our firm necessarily but get yourself an appointment at a competent firm and heed their advice.  The Forbess Law Firm may be reached at 904-634-0900.

Additional Resources:

St. Johns Sheriff’s Accused of Fraud, Fired , News4Jax.com, staff, webteam@wjxt.com, April 3, 2014