A longtime corrections officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was arrested this month as part of a food stamp fraud investigation. The man is accused of buying food stamps at half price and then using them to buy food in Jacksonville, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He is now charged with misappropriating food stamp funds, grand theft and participating in a scheme to defraud. All three Jacksonville Theft Charges are third-degree felonies that carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison. The judge can choose to run the sentences concurrently (all at the same time) or consecutively, which stretches the maximum sentence to 15 years in prison.
The Sheriff’s Office received a tip about the scheme over the summer and then began building its case, the newspaper reported. The man is accused of twice buying $80 worth of food stamps for $40 and also twice buying $100 of food stamps for $50, the newspaper reported. There is no indication of whom the man bought the food stamps from, but there’s a strong chance that detectives and prosecutors will be looking to someone, perhaps the defendant, to share information about that person and agree to testify in court as to how it all went down. That is a common tactic in Jacksonville Felony Cases, arresting someone lower down the totem pole in the scheme and using the charges as leverage to persuade the person into testifying. Nothing like the threat of a felony charge to apply pressure – especially for someone in law enforcement who could lose his job and certification to be a police officer if convicted of a felony.
The man, a corrections officer since 2003 according to the newspaper report, has already been placed on leave without pay because of his arrest in this Jacksonville Theft Case. One key question that would need to be answered is if the officer used any of his influence as a corrections officer to start this transaction, or if connections were made through his role at the Sheriff’s Office. That could not only affect his job status, but also any potential sentence or plea deal on the criminal side of this Jacksonville Theft Case. Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard in the eyes of the public and the judiciary, and when officers use their position for personal gain, the sentencing repercussions can be severe.
Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney has represented thousands of people accused of theft, from misdemeanor charges on up to serious felonies. Charges and potential sentences in Jacksonville Theft Cases are based primarily on the value of the property that is taken, and our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can outline the potential penalties and provide you or your loved on with information to make the best decision going forward.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.