Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

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jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:41 am

SAD

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:14 am

South Carolina DNR Officer Eric Vaughn, according to the licensing info, provided fraudulent information to obtain his non-resident Ohio license. Therefore under 2921.13 Ohio Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree under section, (F)(1) below!

Of all the information and articles on the net and in the Court, I am not able to find any charges filed against Vaughn! I ASK WHY???

2921.13 Falsification

(A) No person shall knowingly make a false statement, or knowingly swear or affirm the truth of a false statement previously made, when any of the following applies:

(A)(5) The statement is made with purpose to secure the issuance by a governmental agency of a license, permit, authorization, certification, registration, release, or provider agreement.

(F)(1) Whoever violates division (A)(1),(2),(3),(4),(5),(6),(7),(8),(10),(11),(13), or (15) of this section is guilty of falsification, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:16 am

Looks like if South Carolina D.N.R. Officer Eric Vaughn fishes, he also violated South Carolina law!

(B) It is unlawful to obtain, attempt to obtain, or possess a South Carolina resident saltwater license while licensed for any purpose as a resident of another state.

South Carolina Code of Laws

SECTION 50-5-305.  Requirements for obtaining resident license; penalty.

(A) To be granted a resident commercial saltwater license authorized under this chapter:

(1) an applicant must present a statement from the South Carolina Department of Revenue indicating the applicant filed a South Carolina income tax form as a resident for the previous calendar year, but a person under the age of seventeen is exempt from the requirement to provide such statement; or

(2) an applicant who did not file a South Carolina personal income tax form for the previous year must show documentation acceptable to the department proving the applicant was a resident of South Carolina for twelve consecutive months immediately prior to the date of application.

The applicant must also present an additional form of identification acceptable to the department.

(B) It is unlawful to obtain, attempt to obtain, or possess a South Carolina resident saltwater license while licensed for any purpose as a resident of another state.

(C) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days and must have his saltwater privileges suspended for twelve months.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/CODE/t50c005.htm

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:01 am

South Carolina Game Warden chimes in on Ohio controversy. Makes statement "here is a hint- the entire Code of SC Laws contain laws WE ALLLLLL "COULD HAVE" violated"

http://www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=81636&p=668201#p668201

[quote="tradorion"]Yes- I am a SC Game Warden(here is a hint- the entire Code of SC Laws contain laws WE ALLLLLL "COULD HAVE" violated)[/quote]

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:28 am

Top Ohio wildlife officials indicted

By Frank Hinchey
Contributing Writer
Published:
Monday, April 12, 2010 1:31 PM CDT
Georgetown, Ohio – The chief of the DNR Division of Wildlife, an assistant chief and four other DOW officials were placed on paid administrative leave after being indicted on felony charges.

Five employees are accused of failure to pursue a criminal investigation of a wildlife officer charged with assisting a South Carolina wildlife officer to purchase a $19 Ohio resident hunting license instead of a $125 out-of-state license.

Indictments of obstruction of justice and complicity to obstruction of justice were returned April 2 in Brown County against DOW Chief David Graham, Assistant Chief Randy Miller, Law Enforcement Administrator James Lehman, Human Resources Administrator Michele Ward-Tackett, and District 5 Manager Todd Haines. The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Wildlife Officer Allan Wright was charged with three felony counts of tampering with records and a misdemeanor count of falsification. The felony counts carry a maximum penalty of up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Wright admitted to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife investigator he allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use Wright's home address in 2006 on a Ohio resident hunting application. Providing fraudulent information on a hunting application is a first-degree misdemeanor. Wright later admitted to a DOW investigator he checked three deer killed by Eric Vaughn in Ohio and recorded his own Ohio address and badge number on the harvest reports.

All six employees of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources pleaded not guilty to the charges April 5 in Brown County Common Pleas Court. The were placed on paid leave two days later, said Mark Shelton, ODNR chief of external services.

"The public service provided by Division of Wildlife and Ohio Department of Natural Resources are not going to suffer while these personnel investigations go forward," Shelton said. A felony conviction prohibits a person from state employment and loss of a state pension, Shelton said.

*
Graham, addressing the Ohio Wildlife Council in early April, echoed that sentiment, calling these "extraordinary circumstances."

"I want to assure Wildlife Council that the Division staff is strong and capable and has the support of the director,"?he said.

DOW Assistant Chief Jim Marshall will serve as acting director while the court cases are pending, Shelton said.

"It smells bad the farther up you go," Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little said. "If you see a crime you should report it."

The governor's office and watchdog unit should be commended for its four-month investigation, Little said.

The 17-page Inspector General's investigative report found Wright admitted his role in obtaining an Ohio resident hunting license for a friend, Vaughn. The IG concluded "DOW administrators failed to investigate the deception as a criminal matter."

Wright claimed the practice of granting resident hunting licenses to out-of-state-wildlife officers was a common courtesy acknowledged by DOW officials, according to the IG report. IG investigators have since found no evidence the DOW officials attempted to verify if such a practice existed during an administrative and disciplinary investigation of Wright in 2008.

Graham, Miller, Ward-Tackett and Haines told the IG they did not regard Wright's actions as criminal because the practice of obtaining Ohio hunting licenses for out-of-state wildlife officers was a common practice and supervisors had knowledge or approved the practice. They also acknowledged to the IG if a civilian provided fraudulent information on a hunting license, criminal charges would be pursued against the individual.

In 1996, the Ohio DOW granted several requests for complimentary hunting and fishing licenses to West Virginia and Kentucky wildlife employees and, in turn, the West Virginia Department of Fish and Wildlife Services granted requests for complimentary hunting and fishing licenses from the Ohio DOW, according to documents obtained by Ohio Outdoor News.

IG investigators for the state watchdog checked all 308,592 Ohio hunting licenses issued in 2006 and compared addresses to Ohio's 155 wildlife officers.

Vaughn "had the only record that did not have the same family name of the residence, and that had a previous or subsequent out-of-state address," the OIG report stated. "The results of this query demonstrate that other wildlife officers are not making a common practice of allowing nonresidents to use officers' addresses to obtain a resident hunting license."

The IG found that Wright also used his own address to assist an acquaintance, John Coffin of Michigan, obtain an Ohio hunting license in 2001.

Because Coffin is not a wildlife officer, this conflicted with Wright's assertion to investigators that granting resident licenses to out-of-state wildlife officers, especially Indiana and Kentucky, was common DOW courtesy, the IG report stated.

[color="#996600"]Vaughn reimbursed Ohio for the license fee difference, said Col. Alvin Taylor, director of the South Carolina DNR law enforcement division. [/color]Taylor described Vaughn as a good officer who was not aware he had done anything wrong while hunting in Ohio.

The South Carolina DNR investigated Wright in 2007 for alleged trapping violations in South Carolina and issued Wright a warning letter for failure to comply with administrative reporting procedures, Taylor said. In addition, a federal wildlife investigator interviewed Wright on a complaint about alleged misconduct by an FWS officer.

During the South Carolina investigation, Wright admitted to the federal investigator he helped Vaughn obtain an Ohio resident hunting license in 2006. The federal investigator's findings were sent to the Ohio DOW, which investigated in 2008 and found no criminal wrongdoing.

Tackett agreed to classify Wright's actions as "failure of good behavior" requiring a verbal reprimand, the IG report stated. Graham agreed with the recommendation, and Miller felt Wright's action was not dishonest because Wright "didn't willfully set out to do that," according to the IG report.

"It is unclear how Wildlife could proceed with an administrative investigation and discipline if, at the time of the offense, there was no policy prohibiting Wright from taking part in providing a resident license to a nonresident," the IG report concluded.

In March 2008, Graham issued a memo requiring Ohio DOW employees to purchase out-of-state license when hunting outside the Buckeye state.

"Any person purchasing a resident license will be held personally and professionally responsible for their actions," Graham wrote in the memo.

Graham issued a second memo seven months later that out-of-state wildlife employees hunting and fishing in Ohio "must follow the same guidelines, rules and regulations as any other out-of-state patrons."

http://outdoornews.com/articles/2010/04 ... 691930.txt

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IsitInTREES
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby IsitInTREES » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:34 pm

I live in Michigan and hunt in Ohio..... I buy a license every year, so should Wildlife Officers and every one else.
Their mindset is "Above the Law".
Don't focus on the destination, Enjoy the Journey

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:43 pm

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Attorney for indicted Wildlife Division official defends client
The attorney handling one of the six indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officials is baffled by the charges brought against his client.

Attorney Michael Cassity of Mount Orab in Brown County is representing James Lehman, the Wildlife Division's law enforcement administrator, who has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Lehman is charged with one count of obstructing justice and one count of complicity of obstructing justice. Both are fifth-degree felonies.

The indictment against Lehman and five other Wildlife Division officials stems from an alleged incident in which the state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County - Allan Wright - was said to have allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address in order to obtain an Ohio hunting license on Nov. 5, 2006.

It is alleged that Lehman and four other high-ranking Wildlife Division officials should have handled the Wright incident differently as a criminal matter and not as an administrative matter that resulted in a verbal reprimand for Wright.

"What I've seen of the limited investigation I've been able to do would indicate there is no merit to these charges. I just don't understand why the charges were brought. They're talking about complicity; trying to break the law. At least my client was following what he believed was policy. Certainly when the (Ohio) Inspector General got involved there was total cooperation with my client. He participated in the Inspector General investigation and told them what he knew. He wasn't out to hide anything," Cassity said.

Cassity said too that the matter should be tossed out of Brown County Common Pleas Court for lack of evidence of guilt.

"I do; maybe even more than a possibility. But right now this case is in its infancy with a lot of information that has to be discovered by the defense. I don't see, however, there is sufficient evidence to support these charges," Cassity said.

Cassity said as well that when an attorney is experienced in criminal work he or she has a "pretty good sense of what the evidence might be about" and that sense points to a lot of nothing in this matter.

Similarly, Cassity says he is "extremely impressed" with Lehman.

"I've got pretty good instincts and my impression is that he is straight and plays by the rules. You know, it's tough on him with more than 20 years with the Wildlife Division. He's an honorable man. He was just doing his job the way he believed his job should be done," Cassity said.

Cassity noted that he will appear before the Brown County Common Pleas Court next week along with Brown County Prosecutor Jessica A. Little for a pre-trial hearing.
At this hearing - not normally attended by the defendant - a second pre-trial date may be set as well as possibly the actual trial date.

"I don't expect a whole lot except whether there's been an exchange of discovery, basically must be provided by the prosecutor, possibly Friday or Monday," Cassity said.

Efforts are being made to contact the other attorneys representing the remaining defendants.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischkorn@News-Herald.com

http://outdoorswithfrischkorn.blogspot. ... chive.html

tradorion
 
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SC GAME WARDEN CHIMES IN

Postby tradorion » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:52 am

Since i choose not not to go through this whole things again- here is the thread in updated form- ya'll go see what the SC Game Warden thinks of Mr JCI63's tirade against CPL Eric Vaughn in its fullest...

Remember this in simplest terms ALLLLL MEN are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY and in this case VAUGHN WAS NOT EVEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME


http://www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums/vie ... =8&t=81636

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:38 pm

Brown County Prosecuting Attorney, Jessica Little has "requested to the court to appoint a special prosecuting attorney for Allan Wright's case", who has been charged with two counts of tampering with records and one count of falsification.

The Brown County prosecuting Attorney herself will be prosecuting Division of Wildlife Chief David Graham, Law Enforcement Administrator James Lehman, Human Resources Administrator Michele Ward, District 5 Manager Todd Haines and Assistant Chief of ODNR Division of Wildlife Randy Miller were each indicted on one count of obstructing justice and one count of complicity to obstruct justice each. Due to "facts and legal issues" with the above five individuals "that need to separate from Allan Wright's Case."

"Eric Vaughn is a material witness" in her case and she "cannot comment on his testimony."  

jci63
 
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RE: Ohio wildlife officers face multiple charges

Postby jci63 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:51 am

New Watchdog Probe Into Ohio Wildlife Licenses
Associated Press


COLUMBUS, Ohio-The state watchdog is investigating allegations that wildlife officers broke the law by providing out-of-state wildlife officers Ohio fishing licenses at a discount, The Associated Press has learned.

The probe by the Ohio Inspector General follows similar allegations involving a hunting license that has led to felony charges against the wildlife division's top administrators.

All are on paid leave while they are prosecuted over the hunting license allegations.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife reprimanded two officers in 2007 for helping fellow wildlife officers from Indiana obtain Ohio fishing licenses at the lower, Ohio rate of $19, according to wildlife records released to the AP through a records request.

The officers let the Indiana officers use the Ohio address of wildlife regional offices in Xenia in southwest Ohio. Normally, the Indiana officers would have paid $40 for the license.

Indiana allows out-of-state wildlife officers who are in the state on official business to obtain hunting and fishing licenses at in-state rates. Ohio does not have a similar policy, and it is illegal to put down false information on the licenses when filling them out.

The Oct. 7, 2008, letter of reprimand indicates the officers had a supervisor's authority to obtain the licenses.

Despite that, "This was against Division of Wildlife directive and should not be repeated again in the future," according to the letters signed by Todd Haines, then the manager of the Xenia office.

Haines is one of six officials who have pleaded not guilty in the 2006 case of an Ohio wildlife officer who let a South Carolina officer use his home address to receive a $19 Ohio hunting license, saving $106. Haines was charged with one count of obstructing justice and one count of complicity.

Josh Zientek, one of the wildlife officers reprimanded over the fishing license issue, declined to comment Tuesday.

"I trust the system and we've just got to let the system work," he said.

At issue with the hunting license is whether Ohio officials knowingly broke the law. Several told investigators that the practice was widespread in the past.

David Graham, chief of the Ohio Wildlife Division, told investigators the practice of providing the in-state license rate was probably outdated but he didn't think of it as a crime.

"I just had come to the conclusion over time that it just wasn't the probably a socially acceptable thing to do anymore," Graham said in a Feb. 1, 2010, interview with investigators reviewed by the AP.

However, the inspector general's investigation of the hunting license issue released last week says officials knew what happened was illegal.

"The reality is that Wildlife administrators knew that providing false information on the hunting license application is a criminal offense," the report said.

Graham also acknowledged to investigators he was close friends with Allan Wright, the wildlife officer who allegedly obtained the cheaper hunting license for the South Carolina official.

Graham has pleaded not guilty to one count of obstructing justice and one count of complicity

http://www2.nbc4i.com/cmh/news/crime/ar ... ses/35402/

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