Sunday, March 26, 2017

Columbus, Indiana pastor Justin White charged with insurance fraud

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WTHR) - Police say a Columbus pastor who claimed burglars broke into home while he was preaching the gospel may have broken the 9th Commandment - the one about lying.

Officers arrested Justin White Friday at his home in Columbus for insurance fraud. Investigators say the arrest is connected to the burglary report filed last December.

White told police someone burglarized his home while he was preaching at First Christian Church on a Sunday right before Christmas. He claimed that thieves got away with $11,000 in electronics, jewelry, and appliances - even his young daughter's piggy bank.

Saturday, the door closed quickly at the minister's home when Eyewitness News attempted to talk to the family again.

White had opened his home to Eyewitness News just days before Christmas, and couldn't talk enough about a so-called break-in at his Columbus home.

"My son looked up and saw that our TV was gone and he said we've been robbed," White said in December. "Then we started walking through the house and we realized they had taken so much."

Children at his church even rallied together to replace the money he claimed was stolen from his daughter's piggy bank.


 The crooked former Passaic County Sheriff Officer Ronald A. Lucas

As part of an investigation we have been performing, we discovered that Ronald A. Lucas, a former Passaic County sheriff officer with the Civil Division lied about his on-the-job shoulder injury.  Lucas claimed that he fell on the job on June 28, 2011 at 687 Indian Road, Wayne, NJ and that he injured his left shoulder requiring several pins.   He then filed a disability claim with the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits (Police and Firemen Retirement System).  He was granted disability for one year with subsequent review.  After he retired with claimed disability, he obtained a job as part-time security guard at the Pequannock High School.

We discovered that Mr. Lucas suffered shoulder injuries while playing football and lifting heavy weights over his lifetime.  He was a linebacker with the Pompton Lakes Cardinals, using his shoulder to hit and tackle his opponents during practice and during football games.  We are attaching a picture showing that he was #41 in the Cardinal’s Pompton Lake football team.  Lucas has fallen on his shoulder probably thousand times during his athletic and training career.

Everybody knows that linebackers hit and tackle their opponents using their shoulders.  These athletes also lift heavy weights and they end-up injuries their shoulders.   He even made the All County Team in 1980, showing how hard he was working out.  Based on our investigation, we found that weight lifting athletes do suffer shoulder injuries of the type claimed by Lucas.

He also trained his two sons (Dean Lucas and Ronnie Lucas) into playing TE and DE positions also with the Cardinals football team.  In fact, linebackers suffer at least 13.5 percent of all football injuries and at least 65 percent of the linebackers end up undergoing surgery.

We have obtained photos showing Mr. Lucas lifting weights, after his alleged job-ending disability.  See for example the attached image that is dated December 2013.

It is obvious to a reasonable and objective person that Lucas (in his mid-50s) took this incident on June 28, 2011 to claim on-the job-injury to be able to repair his previously injured shoulder at taxpayers’ expense and to retire and then blame Basilis Stephanatos for his injuries.  After he retired, he started the double dipping.  The finest of New Jersey at "work".  But he was caught and he will face the consequences.

Terry Wyatt, 56, of Vilonia, owner of A-1 Recovery Towing & Recovery Inc., faces 13 felonies, including 4 counts of insurance fraud


A-1 Towing & Recovery Inc. owner Terry Wyatt pleaded not guilty Monday to theft and insurance fraud allegations.
Terry Wyatt, 56, of Vilonia faces 13 felonies — first-degree engaging in a continuing criminal gang, four counts of theft of property, three counts of theft by receiving, four counts of insurance fraud and possession of firearms by certain persons — and is currently free on a $50,000 bond.

Charges were filed against Wyatt in connection to several possible fraudulent insurance claims made between Feb. 22, 2014, through Aug. 2, 2015.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Wyatt after receiving information he may have committed insurance fraud.

“During their investigation in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Insurance Criminal Investigation Division, it was found that Terry Wyatt committed or attempted to commit or solicited to commit a felony insurance fraud, theft and theft by receiving on at least four separate occasions with at least five other participants and that Terry Wyatt occupied a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or an other position of management,” the affidavit reads.

FCSO received a vehicle theft report from Wyatt’s shop at his residence on 56 Wyatt Lane in Vilonia on April 30, 2015.

Wyatt reported a white Mercury Mountaineer that was at the shop for repair was stolen from the shop.

According to the affidavit, he told FCSO he did not know who could have committed the theft. However, he later said “in a statement to the insurance company representative, Tom James, Mr. Wyatt indicated a possible suspect.”

The possible suspect, identified as Michael Helton, denied any involvement in the reported theft, but admitted to others.

Helton told FCSO “he had nothing to do with the reported theft, but said he had been involved in several other thefts and incidents with Terry Wyatt, and that he was willing to assist investigators in the investigation of a continuing theft and fraud scheme that had been perpetrated by Terry Wyatt for a long period of time.”

Helton told investigators he had helped Wyatt in two separate theft schemes “that involved the theft and destruction of boats in order for Wyatt to collect insurance money.”

The first scheme detailed to FCSO involved a 2009 Tahoe ski boat that had become A-1 Recovery’s property after it had been reported as abandoned property.

According to the affidavit, Wyatt offered Helton’s girlfriend, Crystal Qualls, $500 to purchase the boat and get it registered so he could later “take the boat away.”

“Helton stated that Terry Wyatt provided a fake bill of sale for Qualls, and made it appear that she had made a couple of payments, when she had not paid any money,” the affidavit states.

A-1 Recovery was listed as the boat’s lienholder and the insurance for the boat “was also taken out and paid for with a credit card belonging to A-1 Recovery.”

The motor was removed and stored at Wyatt’s farm on 56 Wyatt Lane and the two “used a track hoe to dig a hole, and then burned and buried the boat at Terry Wyatt’s direction on his property.”

The Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office received a theft report regarding the boat on Sept. 9, 2014. The lienholder, A-1 Recovery, was soon issued a $21,776.36 payment through Shelter Insurance.

The second alleged fraud involved a 2009 Nautique ski boat.

Wyatt had purchased the boat for personal use, according to the affidavit.

The plan was carried out similarly, Helton told investigators, noting it was sold to another employee and that the two later took the boat and buried it in a hole with brush. This time, however, the boat was insured through Allstate Insurance.

While burning the boat, “things got out of control” and the Vilonia Fire Department was called out to Wyatt’s farm, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states, “The Vilonia Fire Department confirmed that they did in fact respond to a fire at Terry Wyatt’s home but stated that when they arrived, Terry Wyatt came running in from the pasture area to stop them. Wyatt told firefighters that he was burning brush and some diesel fuel exploded.

“He told firefighters that he didn’t want anyone down at the fire, and did not want the firefighters back on his property again.”

The fire was reported a few hours before the boat was reported stolen.

Statements regarding the boat’s condition differed, according to the affidavit. Some statements regarding its condition reported the boat was not in good condition and that it did not have a motor. Investigators were also told the boat was in “excellent shape” and Wyatt’s employee agreed on a $70,694.81 settlement.

The affidavit states the employee then transferred $67,000 of that money to Wyatt.

When searching for the hole used to burn the boats, FCSO located two marine boat motors “inside the shop just where Helton had said they would be.”

“During execution of the search warrant, there were also several large trailers found on the property which had the identification numbers ground off to a degree that they could not be determined even by advanced means,” the affidavit reads. “There was a Shadow camper trailer found that had been reported stolen out of Cabot Police Department which had most, but not all of the serial numbers missing.”

Helton also told investigators he helped Wyatt damage propellers on a boat and stage an accident to make it appear as if Wyatt swerved to miss running over a dog and hit the propellers. The two also staged an non-working lawnmower in the accident and Wyatt was able to take out two separate insurance claims, collecting $3,988.12 and $1,189.70 for the lawnmower respectively, according to the affidavit.

Investigators uncovered several insurance schemes they believe Wyatt conducted during their investigation.

A no contact order was issued Monday between Wyatt and Carl Webber, who had purchased the 2009 Nautique ski boat from Wyatt.

The Log Cabin Democrat was unable to reach Wyatt for comment Friday.

He is set to appear in Faulkner County Circuit Court next for a pretrial hearing at 9 a.m. May 3.

A propane barbecue grill may have sparked a fire in Medford, Burlington County, NJ that left three townhouses damaged

Investigators think a propane barbecue grill may have sparked a fire in Medford, Burlington County, NJ that left three townhouses damaged. (WPVI)

Sunday, March 26, 2017 12:01AM
MEDFORD, N.J. (WPVI) -- Investigators think a propane barbecue grill may have sparked a fire in Medford, Burlington County, that left three
townhouses damaged.

The fire broke out just before 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Wentwood Court.

Firefighters arrived to heavy flames from the back of one of the homes.

It went to two alarms before firefighters were able to bring it under control.

With warm weather just around the corner, officials caution, be aware of safety precautions when using those grills.

"Just be careful with the propane gas grills. Like is said, we don't know that's for sure that's what it is, but that's where we're looking right now, in the area of the back deck," said Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Dovi.

No one was injured, but three families had to find somewhere else to stay.