Last week, an inspector at the Jacksonville Electric Authority was arrested for charges of employee theft and being a public servant that falsified official documents. According to an article in the Florida Times Union, the employee is accused of lying on his time sheet, billing for hours he did not work. Police say the man spent many hours doing personal things and billing the public utility for that time.
The man was released on his own recognizance by the judge in first appearance court. In Jacksonville and all over Florida, when you are arrested, you will be brought in front of a judge within twenty-four hours to address your release. The judge will decide whether or not you are a danger to the community and whether or not you pose a flight risk. The judge will consider how long you have lived in the county, your criminal history, if any, your family living in the county, your employment, etc. Most of the time, judges will set a bond, which is an amount of money you will have to pay to be released. If a bond is set, you can pay the whole amount directly to the jail and will be the whole amount back at the conclusion of your case. If you cannot afford to post the full amount of Jacksonville bond, you can use a bondsman. They will take ten percent of the bond amount and post the rest with the jail for you. In this case, the judge released the JEA employee on his own recognizance, which means he did not have to pay any money to get out of jail. However, the judge also required that the employee report to Jacksonville Pretrial Services. This is a jail release program where you have to report upon being released from jail and you will be randomly drug tested while your case is pending. The employee has to report to Pretrial Services until he completes the MilePost class, which is an anti-theft class. Once that is completed, the man just has to report to his court dates as directed.
Employee theft in Florida, when the value stolen is $300 or more and less than $5000, is considered a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In this case, police say the man appropriated ill-received payment (about $4500 worth) to himself for work he did not do for the utility company. The other Duval County criminal charge is called “official misconduct” It is against the law in Florida for a public worker, with corrupt intent to obtain a benefit to falsify any official record or official document. In this case, the man is accused of falsifying his time sheets.