Jason Robert Williams, James Paul Williams Jr., Phillip Brian Stinson, and Jose Ramon Quinones, all South Florida managers for the charity Police Protective Fund, were arrested Tuesday for allegedly hiring felons, news sources report. Facing third-degree felony charges of hiring felons to raise charity money are Williams, 33, of Holiday; Williams Jr., 60, of Tarpon Springs; Stinson, 31, of New Port Richey; and Quinones, 49, of Davie. It is unclear whether the defendants qualified for bail bond. It is similarly unclear whether the defendants had hired defense attorneys.
According to reports, the father-son Williams duo, along with Stinson and Quinones, worked for Police Protective Fund prior to their arrests. The organization’s website states that, “for more than 20 years, Police Protective Fund has been a destination for people who wish to make a difference in the well-being of police officers and their families” by funding police programs for children, leadership seminars for officers, and grief support. The charity was placed on a list of America’s worst charities recently for allegedly donating only $260,000 of the $35 million they raised between 2001 and 2010.
The Police Protective Fund has telemarking offices in Clear Water, Davie, New Port Richey, and Port Richey, sources say. The co-founders of the charity, David Dierks and Phil LeConte, have apparently remained mum regarding these recent arrests. The two co-founders have apparently founded several charities that are currently facing litigation in various states.
This is not the first time the Police Protective Fund has been cited for hiring felons. Florida officials went to one of the Port Richey telemarketing locations for an unspecified reason about three years ago. Several employees were found to have criminal records, including fraud, armed robbery, and theft charges, sources say. Williams Jr., the manager of the center, reportedly claimed the center could not pay for background checks. The officials issued a warning rather than charges in that case.
James Campanelli, who reportedly worked at a Port Richer Police Protective Fund telemarketing office for nearly a year, purportedly said that everyone knew about employee’s criminal pasts. “It wasn’t a hush-hush thing, but I thought it was weird they were getting people’s credit card numbers,” Campanelli reportedly told reporters. “It seemed like the people who did real well were the guys that did time. They learned how to be smooth.” Campanelli left the office in July 2011, sources say.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services apparently ran background checks on all the employees on Tuesday. The check revealed that a number of employees were felons, despite the warning a few years prior. This time, the department made arrests instead of issuing a warning.
Reports say the Florida Attorney’s office had already received as many as four complaints regarding the Police Protective Fund, beginning in 2010. The Attorney General’s Office purportedly failed inform the Agriculture Department, which maintains and investigates Florida charities, of the complaints. One report was apparently from a former officer who was solicited by the organization. Another resulted from a 95-year-old’s donation; the woman’s daughter claimed the charge was fraudulent and informed police, sources say.
“Charities that cannot follow state law cannot be trusted with Floridians’ hard-earned money,” an agriculture commissioner spokesperson reportedly said in regards to the case. “By cracking down on charities that hire felons, we’re working to make sure more of Floridians’ charitable contributions are used to do good.”