This is what was going on in the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Dept. a few days before Brandon’s death. It was too easy to say it was suicide than it was to do a good and proper investigation. Many of the employees were probably fearing for the loss of their own jobs in the dept. due to what was going on at the time. The FBI was brought in to investigate. The following is a news report from a local Panama City, Florida online news report and the Crestview News Bulletin. We were told by someone who worked within the dept. that the man that investigated our son’s death had been fired TWICE for falsifying records while under the employ of this same sheriff!! What does that tell ya?
Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris Behind Bars
Updated: Sat 7:30 PM, Feb 28, 2009
An emotional start to a Friday morning for the employees of Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Just before 9 o’clock they were informed their boss, Sheriff Charlie Morris, was behind bars.
“I don’t know if i can do this Charlie Morris has been like a father to me and to say that we are hurt, to say that we are stunned to say that we are disappointed does not even begin to describe it,” says Michele Nickelson the O.C.S.O. public information officer. Federal agents arrested Morris in Las Vegas, Friday morning on theft, fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges.
Around the same time, authorities in Shalimar arrested Morris’ director of administration and finance, 50-year-old Theresa “Terry” Adams, escorting her out of her office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Morris and Adams were conducting a scheme to steal money from the sheriff’s office payroll account, enlisting the help of unwitting employees. Several of those employees got suspicious and began working with local FBI agents. Those agents say the scheme worked like this:
Adams or Morris or both, would tell the employee the sheriff’s office charity account was out of money.
They’d ask the employee to help them transfer money from the payroll account to the charity account, in the form of kick-backs. Those employees told federal agents they would receive thousands of dollars in bonuses, then give most or all of the money back to Adams as either cash or a cashier’s check. They say Morris never gave any of the money to charity, but pocketed it for his own use. After Morris’ arrest, Gov. Charlie Crist suspended him from office and appointed FDLE Agent Edward Spooner as the acting sheriff.
Friday afternoon, Spooner reacted to the situation.
“It’s a bad day for all of us I’ve known charlie Morris for 16 years..I’ve worked with him quite a bit….it’s tough for all of us.”But he refused to answer any questions about the investigation, like are there any more arrests pending.“This involved a very small group of employees in the sheriff’s office that is being investigated by the FBI.” If the allegations are true, the nagging question is why would Morris do it.
Some claim Morris has a gambling problem.
“I don’t know that he has a gambling problem I have no knowledge of that and it’s an issue i will not discuss,” says Spooner. When asked why Morris was in Las Vegas, Spooner would only answer he was on vacation.
As for his stay at the sheriff’s office, Spooner says he’s only there for a short time.
“It’s my understanding I’ll be here for 4 to 6 or even 8 weeks to come in and keep the sheriff’s office running the same and give the same service to the citizens, the members and the employees, but the agency is who will make the difference.”
There is no word on who will step-up and permanently replace Morris, not only as sheriff, but also as the president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.
Morris is due in Federal Court in Las Vegas for a bond hearing.
He’ll then be extradited back to the Pensacola where he’ll face the charges.
Another person has been arrested in connection to the arrest of Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris.
Along with the Arrest of 59-year-old Sheriff Charlie Morris, Teresa Adams, age 50, of Niceville, Florida, were arrested Friday based upon a federal criminal complaint alleging violations of Theft or
Fraud from Federally Funded Programs, Wire Fraud, Fraud or Theft of Honest Services, Money Laundering and Money Laundering Conspiracy.
Sheriff Morris was arrested by federal agents in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is expected to make an initial appearance in United States District Court for the District of Nevada Friday.Thereafter, he is expected to be returned to the Northern District of Florida. According to the complaint filed in federal court, Morris, with the assistance of his Director of Administration and Finance, Adams, created fictitious bonuses to sheriff’s department employees.
The complaint alleges the employees were directed to return all or a portion of the bonuses in the form of cash and cashier’s checks under the pretense that these returned funds were to be used for charitable purposes. Adams is expected to make an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth M. Timothy in Pensacola Friday.
A criminal complaint is merely a charging instrument. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in United States District Court.This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randall J.
Sheriff’s office convictions upheld
coup norris yacks okaloosa sheriff charlie morris convictions
Michael Coup, Sandra Norris and David Yacks
FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
By LAUREN DELGADO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 05:02 PM. COINCIDENTALLY, THIS WAS PUBLISHED THREE YEARS AFTER ON THE EXACT DATE OF BRANDON’S DEATH
The First District Court of Appeal on Tuesday upheld the convictions and sentences of Michael Coup, Sandra Norris and David Yacks for their role in former Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris’ bonus kickback scheme.
“I always felt the trial judge, Linda Nobles, conducted a fair and appropriate trial and that there were no errors,” State Attorney Bill Eddins said. “I am relieved, however, that the court has ruled in this manner.”
Morris gave out bonuses to employees and required them to return a portion for his personal use. Coup, Norris and Yacks returned a portion of their bonuses to Morris on several occasions. As Morris’ scheme grew, Coup — the Sheriff’s Office’s chief deputy — also received money from Morris originally kicked back to the sheriff, prosecutors said.
Norris was Morris’ finance director and Yacks was the assistant administrator of information technology.
Coup, Norris and Yacks were convicted of racketeering and grand theft on Oct. 19, 2010. Coup was also convicted of official misconduct. They were sentenced March 30, 2011, to four years in state prison and six years’ probation after their release.
They were free on bond while their appeals were pending.
It takes about 30 days for the appeals court ruling to become final, Eddins said. The defendants can file an appeal in that time, but Eddins does not believe they will.
The ruling was issued in three Per Curiam opinions — unsigned affirmations that do not give the court’s reasoning or discuss any issues raised by the defense, Eddins said.
Per Curiam opinions leave no basis for an appeal, he noted.
None of the attorneys for the defendants returned messages Tuesday seeking comment.
After the ruling becomes final, the state attorney’s office will ask Nobles to order the defendants to surrender and start serving their sentence. Nobles will decide when they must turn themselves in, Eddins said.
“It could be a very short amount of time,” Eddins said. “Normally, just a few days.”
Morris and Teresa Adams, his administrative director, pleaded guilty to federal charges of theft, fraud and money laundering in May 2009.
Morris is serving a 71-month prison sentence. Adams has completed a 36-month sentence.
They also pleaded no contest to state charges of racketeering and money laundering and were sentenced to 20 years’ probation last November.Randall Holcombe, Morris’ assistant director of administrative services, was the last of seven defendants to face trial. He was convicted of racketeering and grand theft last October and was sentenced in January to four years in prison. Holcombe has appealed his conviction.
Sabra Thornton, Morris’ chief of staff and alleged mistress, was convicted in January 2010 of five counts of grand theft and one count of theft. Her conviction was overturned on appeal in April 2011.
She was not charged in connection with the kickback scheme.