The fine line between a cop and a thief
Providence officer charged with stealing from evidence room
By The Associated Press
A Providence officer accused of stealing jewelry and other items from a Police evidence room has been indicted on felony charges.
The indictment announced Friday by the Attorney General's office charges 61-year-old Michael McCarthy with larceny of a firearm, receiving stolen goods, larceny over $1,500 and embezzlement.
McCarthy, of Warwick, is a 36-year veteran officer. He was suspended from the department.
McCarthy is accused of stealing a gun, a diamond ring, and cash from the evidence room. He is to be arraigned in Superior Court March 6.
Police officials have said they don't believe any current cases are affected. They say a Sergeant noticed jewelry was missing as Police prepared to return it to its owner.
It's unclear if McCarthy if represented by a lawyer.
Cop suspended; officials probe 'Scarface' theft
Detroit — A Detroit Police Special Operations officer was arrested and suspended after he allegedly stole a shadowbox containing a photograph of actor Al Pacino and memorabilia from the movie "Scarface" during a drug raid — the latest in a string of accusations of wrongdoing amid drug investigations.
The officer was arrested by Internal Affairs investigators after a fellow officer informed police officials about the alleged theft Friday of the expensive wall hanging on the city's northwest side, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.
"He's been suspended, and the allegations are under investigation," Craig said. "I want to acknowledge that it came to our attention because another police officer brought it to us. ... We applaud whenever an officer becomes aware of alleged misconduct and takes action."
The suspended officer was part of a Special Operations team assigned to provide security for a crew that raided the suspected drug house, Craig said.
The raid of the house in the 16100 block of Lamphere Street netted more than $46,000 worth of heroin. Police also confiscated 15 firearms.
At some point, the officer allegedly stole the shadowbox, which in addition to a picture of Pacino, contained bullets that were used in the movie "Scarface."
"No charges have been filed yet," pending an investigation, Craig said.
The allegations are the latest involving wrongdoing by officers investigating drugs. A federal probe is being conducted into widespread corruption in the former Narcotics Section, which was disbanded in July.
Accusations include a sergeant who had failed to turn in 32 pieces of drug evidence confiscated from hospitalized suspects and another sergeant who reportedly falsified evidence tags for items seized during drug raids, including three flat-screen TVs, a laptop computer and an Xbox 360 video game system.
Earlier this month, a Warren couple whose medical marijuana operation was raided by a Detroit narcotics crew filed a civil lawsuit against officers, including James Napier, who killed himself as he was being investigated for corruption by the FBI and Internal Affairs.
In November, a lieutenant and an officer who were assigned to narcotics duty were suspended and are believed to be part of the federal probe into alleged criminal wrongdoing; while in August, a sergeant and five officers were suspended from the Narcotics Section after a surveillance video captured them taking away a box they never logged as evidence during a raid in February, 2013.
All of those cases are under investigation.
Fmr. Sweetwater Detective Arrested On Fraud Charge
February 26, 2015 4:51 PM
SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) — A former Sweetwater detective is on the other side of the law after being arrested on a fraud charge.
Octavio Oliu, 42, was arrested and booked into jail on Thursday morning just before 11:00 a.m.
Sweetwater Police said Oliu “used a stolen Michigan license plate on an unmarked police vehicle and accumulated more than 530 Sun Pass violations.”
Florida Highway Patrol had pulled over Oliu for speeding and failure to maintain a single lane.
When authorities searched through Olius vehicle, they said they discovered a number of unauthorized license plates.
He is charged with organized scheme to defraud and three counts of official misconduct.
Police said as a consequence of this arrest, Oliu has been placed on unpaid leave.
In 2013, Oliu was the target of an investigation after there was a slew of complaints against the Sweetwater Police Department ranging from brutality to theft.
Oliu was also the subject of a civil suit which alleged he and auxiliary officer Richard Brenner arrested a special needs teacher in front of his students outside their jurisdiction because the man wrote a threatening message about cops online.
In the complaint filed against the City of Sweetwater, the officers were accused of false arrest, false imprisonment and violating civil rights.
Brenner was fired from the department for failure to meet “probationary standards.”
The administration was also investigating a secret property room only a select few people knew about, including Oliu and Brenner.
The warehouse was filled with uncatalogued property and evidence from open criminal cases which is a violation of law enforcement procedure.
Oliu’s bond for Thursday’s arrest is set at $20,000.
Dyersburg Police Officer Charged With Stealing From Couple
OBION COUNTY, Tenn. (FOX13) - A Dyersburg Police Officer has been charged with stealing from an Obion County couple, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
At the request of 27th District Attorney General Thomas Thomas, TBI Special Agents, with the assistance of officers with the Obion County Sheriff's Office, began investigating Cara Elizabeth Johnson-Peckenpaugh on Feb. 10, an investigator with the Dyersburg Police Department.
During the course of the investigation, TBI agents determined that on Feb. 5, Officer Johnson-Peckenpaugh electronically removed money from the checking account of a Union City couple and used that money to pay her own electric bill to the Forked Deer Electric Company in Halls.
The 37-year-old law enforcement officer was charged with Theft under $500. She was booked at the Obion County Jail and released on her own recognizance.
Officer Johnson-Peckenpaugh has been suspended without pay from the Dyersburg Police Department pending an administrative proceeding, the TBI said.
Former high-ranking officer with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office charged with misconduct in office
When Greenville County Sheriff Steve Loftis learned a deputy could have been involved with a longtime gambler, he told an FBI agent, "Take it wherever it goes."
On Friday, it went to a small courtroom in the Greenville County Detention Center where one of Loftis' most trusted deputies, former Maj. Shea Smith, was arraigned on two charges of misconduct in office, accused of giving that gambler information in exchange for money.
Smith, 45, was released on a personal recognizance bond after a hearing that lasted about five minutes. A few minutes later, Smith darted out a side door to a waiting truck.
Loftis had brought in the FBI because Izzat Khalil, who ran a high-stakes gambling operation for more than two decades, was able to simply pay a small fine and reopen every time deputies made an arrest. Loftis thought federal charges would be more of a deterrent.
As the investigation unfolded, a deputy told Loftis that he believed Smith was involved with Khalil, and Loftis turned that information over to the FBI. Khalil implicated Smith, and the sheriff ordered an internal investigation, which led to Smith's termination. Loftis then asked the State Law Enforcement Division to conduct a criminal investigation.
Friday's charges stem from that investigation. The warrants, written by SLED agent Gene Donohue, say Smith received money from Khalil and other items of value from June 1, 2008 until Dec. 31, 2013 and in return tipped Khalil off to information about ongoing investigations, both those involving Khalil as well as others.
Smith went to work for the Sheriff's Office in 1994, beginning as a deputy and rising through the ranks to master deputy, training officer, platoon sergeant, public information officer, lieutenant, then about five years ago to major, one of two.
On Friday afternoon, Smith was in bond court in the Greenville County Detention Center and next door to his former workplace, the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center. A detention center officer stood with him behind a mesh screen, while Judge Leila Foster explained his right to remain silent, to have an attorney and to have one appointed if he couldn't afford one. His attorney Hannah Rogers Metcalfe sat in another area behind a glass wall, the judge behind the bench in a third room.
Smith spoke briefly before the hearing to Metcalfe, telling her he was OK. During the hearing, he spoke only to answer the judge's questions: that he understood his rights and did not want to make a statement.
Unlike many whose bond hearings are in that courtroom, Smith did not wear the standard-issue orange jail jumpsuit. He had on a blue dress shirt and black slacks. He was not handcuffed. He was charged Friday morning and arraigned about four hours later.
Both of the charges are misdemeanors. If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to 10 years on one charge and up to one year and a fine of as much as $1,000 on the other.
Smith, 45, was fired last July for conduct unbecoming an officer. At the time, Smith headed the administrative division, which oversees personnel, recruiting, training, public information and the department's budget. He has been working at Jackie Mauldin Collision Repair.
Khalil pleaded guilty to running illegal gambling operations and was sentenced last July to one year and a day in federal prison. The U.S. attorney's office recommended a reduced sentence for him because of his help with information beyond that of his involvement with the deputies, including other operators, drugs and a possible murder. He faced 27 to 33 months in prison.
Kahlil is serving his sentence in a low-security prison in Virginia. His release date is in mid-March, and he will be on probation for three years. At sentencing, he promised the judge he was out of the gambling business.
In an attempt to lessen his punishment, Khalil revealed he had a relationship with two deputies. One of them was Smith. Khalil's attorney Larry Crane said during Khalil's sentencing hearing that his client made cash payments to one deputy for information and arranged financing for furniture, which Khalil paid off.
A second officer was given money for information about search warrants and Khalil paid off the officer's truck, Crane said. Khalil also wrote checks to the officer's wife to pay for out-of-school activities for their daughter.
Crane did not name the officers, but Loftis has identified them as Smith and David Hayes, a sergeant when he was fired early last year, also for conduct unbecoming an officer. Hayes has moved out of state and has not been charged, Loftis said.
Khalil, 54, was one of four or five operators in Greenville County who staged illegal lotteries, some with payouts of $90,000 for a $300 buy-in.
He provided parlay cards to bet on sporting events and opened 24-hour, seven-day-a-week gambling operations in warehouses that looked abandoned but had dozens and dozens of cars parked outside.
The federal government estimates Khalil made $1.5 million from illegal gambling, according to the court record. The government has seized nearly $200,000 in cash, including $56,549 taken from Khalil's home.
Friday afternoon, Loftis said when he found out about allegations made against Smith he was hurt, angry and felt betrayed.
"Now that he's been arrested it brings it all up again," said Loftis, who has been sheriff for 13 years. "He was in the rank of major, which takes an awful lot of trust and confidence."
Judge Foster said Smith would be allowed to sign himself out of jail without posting any money because he had no prior arrests as well as strong ties in the community and therefore was not a flight risk.
Foster told Smith he was to appear in General Sessions Court on March 29. She asked if he understood that if he didn't appear, he'd be tried and a bench warrant would be issued for his arrest.
He responded, "Yes, your honor."
Former Deputy Indicted for Civil Rights Violations and Obstruction of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office February 23, 2015 • Middle District of Florida (813) 274-6000
FORT MYERS, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Michael J. Ronga (43, Cape Coral) with deprivation of civil rights and obstruction of justice. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the civil rights charge and up to 20 years in federal prison for the obstruction of justice charge.
The indictment alleges that on May 5, 2013, while working as a deputy sheriff with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Ronga assaulted “R.L.C.” causing bodily injury, and also took money and a cellphone from “R.L.C.” Ronga also allegedly lied to law enforcement about his interactions with “R.L.C.” on that day.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Amira D. Fox and Chief Assistant United States Attorney Jesus M. Casas.
NOPD officer arrested on theft, filing false public records
NEW ORLEANS —A 17-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department was placed on emergency suspension after he was arrested Tuesday.
Sgt. Ashish Shah was arrested on charges of filing or maintaining false public records and relative to theft of goods over $1,500.
Officials said an investigation began in September when the NOPD was made aware of possible criminal behavior involving an off-duty detail. The Public Integrity Bureau launched its investigation Sept. 30.
Following the arrest, Shah was placed on emergency suspension.
Shah is a 17-year veteran of the NOPD and was most recently assigned to the Fourth District, officials said.