A man who was working as a correction officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was arrested this month, accused of stealing identities of inmates and filing false tax returns under their names. Harold Walbey has pleaded not guilty to a variety of tax and identity theft charges in federal court and faces up to 57 years in prison, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He is accused of filing $257,000 is fake tax returns and making more than $100,000 through the operation, the newspaper reported. An interesting twist in Walbey’s Jacksonville Felony Crimes case came shortly after his arrest, when the newspaper – not the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office – discovered that Walbey had been convicted of a felony in 2001 while working for the sheriff’s office and that his employer did not know.
Walbey started with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1990, resigned, and returned to the agency in 1992, the newspaper reported. In 2001, while working for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, he was charged with child abuse in Washington County, a rural county in the Florida Panhandle, the newspaper reported. Walbey pleaded guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to a year of probation, the newspaper reported. According to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office policy, Walbey could have faced discipline – even termination – for a felony arrest, let alone a felony conviction. Officers are supposed to report any arrest to their employer within 24 hours, but Walbey did not do so, the newspaper reported. Fast forward to 2013. Walbey retires in February and is collecting a city pension, the newspaper reported. Months later, he is arrested on these latest Jacksonville Felony Crimes charges and it comes to light the sheriff’s office has had a convicted felon working with inmates for more than 10 years. It is extremely rare that a law enforcement agency would hire a convicted felon, and most departments have strict policies against the practice.
Now, Walbey runs the risk of losing his city pension for his latest Jacksonville Felony Crimes case. If a person is convicted of a felony that involves gaining a profit through use of his or her official powers, the pension can be revoked. That would be up for debate in this case. It’s cut and dried if Walbey paid inmates for their information, but if he just stole them from a computer system, that could be more of a gray area. But the point some are making is valid – if police would have known a little more about Walbey in 2001, he may have been fired at the time and this conversation about his Jacksonville Felony Case and his pension would not be taking place. Jacksonville Felony Crimes convictions not only have serious implications in terms of a person’s freedom, but can be a huge factor in someone keeping a job or being able to find employment in the future. Our Jacksonville Felony Crimes Attorney can explain your options and help you or your loved one make an informed 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 Jacksonville Felony Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.