Two of five suspects arrested in alleged theft from Jacksonville nonprofit

Police arrested two people and have Jacksonville warrants for three more after at least $77,000 from grants targeted to help people pay their mortgages turned up missing. All five people worked for the Community Rehabilitation Center, which offers programs for mental health, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention and job training. An internal audit last spring uncovered the alleged fraud and the organization fired one employee then, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The nonprofit went to police and that employee was the first one arrested in Jacksonville. A second former employee turned himself in. He is a pastor accused of using personal information from his church members to get checks written in their names without their knowledge, the newspaper reported. The money was all stolen over a nine-month period, police told the newspaper.

It is not clear what role in the organization all five played, but it is almost a certainty that some had a larger role than others. A common investigative tool police used, picked up from the FBI, is to arrest or put warrants out for everybody involved. Often times some of the peripheral players will not be charged, but the possibility cranks up the heat and makes them far more likely to talk and provide information on a former co-worker. If they have to save themselves, typically, they will.

None of these conversations should happen without a criminal defense attorney present. Our Jacksonville Theft Lawyer is experienced in helping clients turn themselves in to cooperate with an investigation – and usually has an idea what the other co-defendants are saying, too. Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm can evaluate where you or your loved one falls in the hierarchy of people charged in a criminal scheme to help determine how vocal to be with police. Cooperation can help earn a reduced sentence, but it’s not likely to be helpful if you are the big fish police are after – not one of the ancillary players arrested to help reel that big fish in.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.