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Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Under Investigation For Financial Exploitation of Elderly Couple

Lt Tom Melton LVMPD SWAT Commander Elderly Exploitation

Last week, it was announced that Lieutenant Tom Melton had been placed on administrative leave (AKA paid vacation) as the result of a criminal investigation. Melton is the commander of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT team. He’s also been one of the public faces of the LVMPD, oftentimes being interviewed by local media and frequently providing briefings at crime scenes.

Initially, Metro declined to give any details about what the nature of that investigation was. However, soon after his suspension was announced a search of public records indicated that he has ties to a woman already facing over 200 charges of defrauding elderly people placed under her care. Lt. Melton had been appointed as legal guardian and trustee for Jerome and Beverly Flaherty, an elderly couple, who have since died. April Parks, the woman previously charged, was awarded co-guardianship of the Flahertys with Melton.

In March, Parks was indicted on charges including perjury, racketeering, filing false records, theft and exploitation, as part of a for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks has been characterized as the “ringleader of a small group” that included her husband; Gary Neal Taylor, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons. All four have been accused of taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision.

After confirmation was received that Lt. Melton was in fact the focus of an investigation into exploitation of an elderly couple, his attorney denied that he was involved in the fraud. Instead, he maintains that he had only hired Parks to care for the couple, whom he describes as friends of Melton. No other details relating to the nature of the investigation into Lt. Melton’s involvement have been released by the LVMPD.

Of course, it very well could be that he had no involvement in the fraud Parks and her partners are accused of. However, the timing of the suspension could potentially indicate otherwise. The fact that the other people involved were indicted in March and Melton didn’t come under investigation until the end of July would seem to imply that there’s more to it. It’s also a bit contradictory that none of the family members of the hundreds of other victims Parks exploited appear to be under investigation.

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Update: Sixteen Arlington TX Cops Allowed to Resign Instead of Facing Charges for Writing Fake Tickets

In December, I posted about what was at the time 12 Arlington Texas cops who had either been fired or resigned for turning in fake tickets they had written to people that didn’t actually exist, oftentimes using the same license plate number in the imaginary citations. Their actions were discovered when department supervisors attempted to review dashcam video from the stops. That footage obviously didn’t exist, since they weren’t really stopping anyone. Apparently, the reason behind these phantom traffic stops was in order to keep up with department quotas.

Via the Star-Telegram:

They are accused of lying about traffic stop reports, tampering with governmental records, and conduct unbecoming a police officer, the press release said.

Their cases have been forwarded to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine if criminal charges will be filed.

Two of the fired officers are also accused of not being truthful in their testimony with internal affairs investigators…

The accused officers reported on their in-car computers that they had made a traffic stop at a particular address but did not give any names, a source close to the investigation had said.

The allegedly falsified stops were discovered when supervisors could not find accompanying dash cam video of the stops.

Officers are required to report driver demographics, the reason for the traffic stop, whether an arrest occurred and whether a search was conducted during the stop, said Cook, the police spokesman. That data is used to compile the department’s annual racial-profiling report.

Earlier this month, it was announced that all 16 of the officers originally suspected of writing fake tickets have been given plea deals to either avoid being indicted or have previously filed indictments dismissed in exchange for resigning and giving up their peace officer licenses, thereby preventing them from working as police officers again.

Via Fox4News.com:

Roughly nine months after 16 police officers were placed on leave during an investigation into fake traffic stops, all of them will avoid prosecution.

Eleven of the officers agreed to plea bargains early on and gave up their peace officer licenses to avoid indictments.  Five of them were actually indicted but later took the same deal to have the indictments dismissed.

“Dane Peterson, Dace Warren, Brandon Jones and Chris McCright were indicted for tampering with a governmental record in multiple indictments,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “Chris Dockery was indicted in one multiple count indictment. All of the officers agreed to give up their TCOLE licenses, and we have dismissed the indictments against each other.”

There’s no mention of the investigation that should be taking place into the illegal ticket quotas imposed by the department that apparently led to the fake ticket scandal in the first place. Of course, that might be the reason that all these cops who were caught red handed breaking several laws got a deal which prevents them from needing to testify in court about it during their trials.

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Update: Florida Cop Who Tried to Murder 79 Year Old Woman Worked as Male Prostitute While On Duty

Last week, I posted on the CopBlock Network about Frankie Bybee, a Sarasota County Sheriff’s deputy who extorted cash from an elderly woman then tried to murder her in a staged suicide attempt once she filed a complaint against him. In the process, he also sold her dog on Craigslist, after charging her $1,000 to care for it while she was in the hospital.

Yesterday, an Internal Affairs report in the case was released. Not only did it contain new details concerning the original charges, including surveillance video of Bybee using the victim’s ATM card to withdraw money, but it also included some new revelations about “business deals” he was involved in.

Along with ten additional charges related to his use of the debit card and fraudulent online purchases Bybee made, Deputy Bybee is also facing new accusations that he acted as a male prostitute while on duty. The latter claim involves him having been paid to have sex with a woman, as well as to record videos of himself masturbating in his patrol car. The woman came forward after seeing media coverage of his charges for the murder attempt.

Via ABC Action News in Tampa:

According to the report, a woman, Elinor Jarvis, came forward and told detectives that they were “involved in an ongoing ‘business deal” for several years that included Dep. Bybee being financially compensated for engaging in sexual acts with her.”

The report said he met her years ago in a hotel room near Boston, Massachusetts and was paid $5,000 for their “initial sexual encounter.”

The report also said that Bybee would record himself in a sex act in his patrol vehicle while on duty and send the video to her via an app called “Tango” and then she would transfer $500 into his PayPal account.

The total payout, according to law enforcement, for these acts was more than $100,000.

The sheriff said Bybee’s actions were first brought to their attention on Jan. 9. That is when Marcia Sohl filed a complaint against then deputy Bybee.

Bybee, according to Knight, responded to a call for service at Sohl’s home on Oct. 21. He befriended Sohl and began to take advantage of her. Investigators released video they say shows Bybee withdrawing money from ATM’s across Sarasota using Sohl’s stolen debit card. In one transaction, Bybe is in uniform.

On Tuesday, Bybee was charged with ten new counts of Criminal Use of Information that involves several unauthorized uses of the victim’s credit card.

Also, according to the report, just prior to the murder attempt Bybee had used the original victim, email account to send a message to her doctor pretending to be her and expressing “suicidal implications.” As a result, the victim was involuntarily committed for a mental health evaluation (commonly referred to as a “Baker Act” hold). It was later determined that Deputy Bybee’s IP address was used to send the email as part of his plot to make it appear she had committed suicide.

In spite of all that, Bybee’s bail amount was dropped from $1,030,000 to $365,620

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At Least a Dozen New Jersey Cops Are Expected to be Arrested in Massive Payroll Fraud Scandal

An ongoing federal corruption probe is expected to result in at least a dozen arrests of Jersey City police officers, possibly as early as this month. The charges involve improper and fraudulent billing submitted by officers working off-duty security jobs. In some cases, the cops made arrangements with businesses directly instead of going through the police department to avoid the fees those businesses are required to pay to the city. In other instances, payroll records were falsified and officers were paid for off-duty work that they never actually performed. At least one of the officers involved received more in off-duty pay than he did for his regular police salary.

In November of 2015, ex-cop John Romaniello, whose job it was to assign off-duty jobs to fellow police officers, took a plea deal and admitted in court that he had set up a program to deal directly with businesses and cut the city out of their fees. However, his guilty plea to fraud and tax evasion charges as part of the deal wasn’t publicly announced until late in 2016. That delay is a pretty good indicator that he is also cooperating with the Feds in their continuing investigation and has a lot of his former co-workers feeling a bit nervous.

Via the Jersey Journal:

The probe is focusing on off-duty, private security work and has already ensnared one former Jersey City police officer.

Police officers have been expecting the arrests for months, the sources said.

NBC 4 New York reported on the probe last week and said that police brass are cooperating with federal officials to identify any officers involved.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill indicated that any investigation is a joint operation between the city and the feds…

Jersey City police officers are permitted to work off-duty providing security for private companies, which are supposed to go through the city when seeking officers. The city charges an administrative fee of $12 an hour on top of what the company pays the officer. That fee is expected to total nearly $300,000 for the city this year.

Sources said the feds are investigating officers who cut the city out as the middleman and either performed the work under the table or took the money without working at all.

Off-duty gigs can be lucrative for cops, who receive between $35 and $65 an hour depending on the kind of work. Payroll records show one officer’s payments for off-duty work this year — a total of $129,445 since January — were higher than his annual salary, $121,338. Three officers made more than $100,000 from off-duty work this year, the records show.

The records show officers received a total of $14,892,946 this year between Jan.1 and Nov. 17 for off-duty jobs.

These guys should really have known that if the Boss doesn’t get his cut, he’s gonna send some guys out to see what’s going on out there.

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Judge, Director of Public Safety, and Deputy Constable in Pennsylvania Arrested Laundering Drug Money

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, John I. Waltman, a district judge from Trevose, Robert P. Hoopes the Director of Public Safety for Lower Southampton, and Bernard T. Rafferty a Bucks County Deputy Constable were scooped up in a sting that involved laundering $400,000 they believed was derived from drug sales and fraud. In return, they had kept $80,000 out of the laundered money.

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that in his position, Hoopes has authority over all police, fire, and emergency operations in Lower Southampton and previously operated a legal practice in Doylestown.

Besides being a deputy constable, Rafferty controls Raff’s Consulting LLC, a corporation registered with the state in 2011, the office said.

The sting operation was conducted by undercover officers and a confidential witness.

From June 2015 through November of this year, the defendants allegedly conducted three money-laundering transactions.

At one of those meetings, Hoopes’ badge was visible on his belt, according to the indictment.

As part of the scheme, Hoopes, Rafferty, and Waltman obtained bogus legal and business documents that provided the cover for money laundering, prosecutors said.

During one transaction described in the indictment, Hoopes drove an unmarked Lower Southampton police car to an office building in Feasterville-Trevose carrying a check from Rafferty’s consulting business in the amount of 80 percent of the cash, according to the indictment. The other two men waited outside in the unmarked police car.

In exchange for the check, undercover officers gave Hoopes a duffel bag filled with at least $100,000 in cash, prosecutors said.

Afterward, the men split their cuts and then deposited the remaining funds back into the Philadelphia bank account for Rafferty’s business, prosecutors said.

As part of the conspiracy, the men allegedly attempted to broker the sale to the undercover officers of a bar in Feasterville-Trevose to be used to launder money. They asked for a broker’s fee of at least 10 percent of the bar’s sale price, according to the indictment.

The men also allegedly planned to obtain a sham default judgment in Bucks County court and fraudulently enforce the judgment to provide funds to launder bank-fraud proceeds from an overseas account.

The full indictment can be viewed here: Bucks County Money Laundering Indictment.

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