NEW ORLEANS, LA – A 33-year-old 911 dispatcher who was working out of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was arrested for allegedly failing to return a deposit of $1.2 million that was accidentally placed to her brokerage account.
Police: Louisiana woman refuses to return $1.2M mistakenly deposited into her account https://t.co/l75QcDXpAt
— FOX13 Memphis (@FOX13Memphis) April 11, 2021
According to officials from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, 33-year-old Kelyn Spadoni was arrested on April 7th under charges of theft valued over $25,000, illegal transmission of monetary funds, and bank fraud.
Spadoni, who served as a 911 dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office for approximately four-and-a-half years, apparently had $1.2 million mistakenly deposited into her brokerage account by Charles Schwab & Co.
Outside of the criminal charges the suspect is facing, the brokerage firm that was responsible for the accidental deposit is also suing Spadoni in federal court.
Charles Schwab & Co. alleges that Spadoni has been avoiding emails, text messages, and phone calls from the brokerage firm in their efforts to have the funds returned.
From what the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of New Orleans alleges, Spadoni had allegedly opened a brokerage account with Charles Schwab back in January. Roughly one month after Spadoni had opened this account, the company installed an “enhancement” to the software used to transfer various assets.
On February 23rd, the brokerage firm intended to transfer $82.56 into a Fidelity Brokerage Services account that was owned by the suspect. However, instead of transferring that amount, the company accidentally transferred slightly over $1.2 million.
Upon realizing the error, company employees attempted to stop or recover the transfer but were apparently unable to do so.
When Charles Schwab got into the fold and attempted to reclaim the money, the request from the company was denied due to the money reportedly not being available.
A 911 dispatcher got $1.2 million by mistake.
Now she's under arrest, accused of immediately moving the money to another account and using some of the ill-gotten cash to buy a new car and a house, according to authorities.
DETAILS 🔽 https://t.co/6Z5WX1rVIl
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) April 9, 2021
When the brokerage firm contacted the sheriff’s office, a criminal investigation into Spadoni was opened. Detectives reportedly found that the suspect had allegedly used some of the money to purchase a house and also a 2021 Hyundai Genesis SUV.
Court records show that the suspect’s account contract with the brokerage firm hosts an agreement that in the event a client inadvertently receives any form of overpayment of funds, then the client must return the full amount of that overpayment.
JPSO spokesperson Jason Rivarde explained that this is a case no different than someone accidentally overpaying on a utility bill, whereby the consumer who overpaid would be entitled to a return of their funds:
“If someone accidentally puts an extra zero on a utility payment, they would want that money returned or credited to them. This is no different.”
Authorities have been able to recover 75% of the money so far. Spadoni is currently being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, with her bail having been set at $50,000. The sheriff’s office has since terminated her from her position following her arrest.
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In other cases revolving around ill-gotten gains, four people were recently indicted in Massachusetts for allegedly engaging in an unemployment fraud scheme that was reportedly hatched from inside of a jail.
Here’s that report from earlier in April.
WORCESTER COUNTY, MA – According to the Massachusetts attorney general, four individuals have been indicted in an alleged unemployment fraud scheme that officials say was orchestrated while one of the accused was inside of the Worcester County Jail in May of 2020.
4 Springfield residents charged in scheme inside Worcester County Jail that used information from inmates to steal more than $77,000 in COVID benefits https://t.co/5P4eXAhPnq
— masslivenews (@masslivenews) April 2, 2021
Attorney General Maura Healey recently announced the March 26th indictments of 38-year-old Darnell Harris, 57-year-old Marie Tavernier, 36-year-old Ebony Harris, and 39-year-old Gregory Harris.
Apparently, the four individuals indicted were allegedly involved in a fraudulent unemployment scheme that was meant to exploit the benefits being handed out in May of 2020 via the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
From what AG Healey says, the four coconspirators managed to defraud the state out of over $77,000 through their purported scheme.
Investigators say that this was a ploy all orchestrated by Darnell Harris, who is now currently incarcerated in Plymouth County House of Correction on an unrelated matter, while he was in custody at the Worcester County Jail during the time of the alleged scheme.
Back in May of 2020, authorities claim that Darnell Harris started to pass along personal identifying information of fellow inmates over to the three other individuals that have been charged in this alleged plot.
Benefits behind bars:
A strange piece of returned mail at the Worcester County Jail was a clue that unlocked an unemployment fraud scheme.
Four people are now facing indictments from @MassAGO, accused of stealing $77K in taxpayer funds#NBC10Boston #NECN https://t.co/FXOY1h97VG
— Ryan Kath (@RyanNBCBoston) April 2, 2021
Sheriff Lew Evangelidis said that jail staff became alerted to the alleged scheme through a piece of intercepted mail that showcased all sorts of personal information of inmates held at the jail:
“It certainly made us think, ‘Why would somebody be sending out all this personal information regarding somebody?’”
Shortly after obtaining the intercepted letter that shared personal identifying information of other inmates, the sheriff’s Special Services Unit soon discovered recorded phone calls coming from the jail that also detailed aspects of the alleged fraudulent scheme.
Investigators claim that the four coconspirators filed a total of 13 false unemployment benefits claims through information obtained by other inmates inside of the jail during that time period in 2020. A total of $77,457 were illegitimately obtained through these fraudulent claims submitted.
The attorney general’s office also alleges that some of the ill-gotten gains were used to help post the $100K bond of Darnell Harris at the time of his pre-trial detention at the jail.
All four individuals are currently facing 13 counts of unemployment fraud, ten counts of larceny over $1200, three counts of attempted larceny and one count each of money laundering and conspiracy.
When further commenting on the case, Sheriff Evangelidis said that he was “disgusted” with the scheme the four are accused of committing:
“I was just disgusted… This is supposedly helping people in serious situations. And instead, you’ve got all this fraud going on. And not only is it happening all over the country, but it’s happening in our own correctional facility.”
Under arraignment is slated for June 7th at the Suffolk Superior Court for all four defendants in this matter.
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