29 current and former federal, state, and local officials were indicted by a federal grand jury in Tallahassee, FL, last week for allegedly actively working to defraud the government and taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The scheme was allegedly orchestrated by a County Executive Director of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, who is accused of stealing federal drought assistance funds and covering up his actions through identity theft, tax evasion, and other federal crimes with a criminal network of almost 30 people.
“These individuals betrayed their duty as public servants and as citizens in a shallow but breathtakingly bold effort to lie, cheat, and steal from their fellow citizens and our federal government,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Lawrence Keefe. “This pattern of shameless criminality strikes at the very heart of our system of self-government and undermines public trust in the integrity of our basic institutions. The United States Attorney’s Office and all our law enforcement partners will be relentless in pursuing and prosecuting all such violations of public trust.”
According to the indictment, Farm Service Agency director Duane Edward Crawson of Bonifay, Florida is accused of leading a conspiracy that involved several individuals in positions of public trust. The indictment alleges that Crawson, 43, devised a kickback scheme between May and December 2017 that enabled him and his co-conspirators to unlawfully obtain approximately $373,483 in taxpayer money.
Crawson allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for farmland and livestock parcels that were not owned by his co-conspirators, leading to drought assistance funds being deposited into their bank accounts. The co-conspirators purportedly paid Crawson a portion of the funds in the form of cash kickbacks.
The charges filed against Crawson and his co-conspirators include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, income tax evasion, aggravated identity theft, theft of government funds, and obstruction of internal revenue laws.
The other defendants named in the indictment are:
- Jeremiah Joe Rolling, 43, of Westville, Florida; Investigator – Office of the State Public Defender
- Jordan Ryan Hicks, 36, of Ponce De Leon, Florida; Former Florida Department of Corrections Officer
- Davey Eugene Mancill, 44, of Westville, Florida; Mancill Masonry, LLC
- James Stacey Paul, 46, of Bonifay, Florida; Public Works – City of Bonifay, Florida
- Kyle Martin Hudson, 39, of Westville, Florida; Former Holmes County Clerk of Court
- Christopher Marion Ammons, 31, of Ponce De Leon, Florida; Heavy Equipment Operator
- Danyel Michelle Witt, 44, of Bonifay, Florida; Clerk – United States Postal Service
- Sheryl Day Gillman, 52, of Bonifay, Florida; Secretary – Florida Farm Bureau
- Shyloe Rose Sachse, 40, of Bonifay, Florida; Former Corrections Officer
- Tillman Douglas Mears, 30, of Bonifay, Florida; Public Works – City of Bonifay, Florida
- Dawn Marie Crutchfield, 48, of Bonifay, Florida; Medical Assistant
- Justin Mikel Chopelas, 21, of Fayetteville, North Carolina; Construction
- Ronald Ryan Roof, 23, of Westville, Florida; Specialist – Army National Guard
- Megan Leann Roof, 22, of Caryville, Florida; Hotel Clerk
- Billy Coal Bradshaw, 35, of Bonifay, Florida; Auto Parts Employee
- James Erwin Mancill, 48, of Bonifay, Florida; Auto Parts Employee
- Joseph Matthew Crowder, 47, of Caryville, Florida; Brick Mason – Mancill Masonry, LLC
- Audrey Lynn Smith, 32, of Caryville, Florida; Convenience Store Clerk
- Brian Anthony Ammons, 44, of Ponce De Leon, Florida; Heavy Equipment Operator
- Taylor Ward Stripling, 28, of Westville, Florida; Farm Laborer
- Dawn Marie Roof, 44, of Chipley, Florida; Licensed Practical Nurse
- Daniel Olajuwon Boston, 33, of Chipley, Florida;
- Brick Mason – Mancill Masonry, LLC
- Chassity Lynn Lee, 31, of Bonifay, Florida; Auto Parts Employee
- Jennifer Marie McCabe, 30, of Bonifay, Florida; Holmes County Council on Aging
- Justina Rae Williams, 30, of Caryville, Florida; Unemployed
- Joseph Bailey Alexander, 22, of Chipley, Florida; Poker Dealer
- Douglas Edward Mixon, 60, of Westville, Florida; Farmer
- Dwayne Frazier White, 49, of Bonifay, Florida; Former City of Bonifay Police Officer
South Florida Wire Fraud Attorney
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