Monthly Archives: February 2017

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Introduces New Tool to Aid Law Enforcement in Fighting Drug Addiction

Dale Colegrove

Dale Colegrove

Media Gathering - Drug Patch P.C. - February 16th, 2017

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————————–At a press conference held recently at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw introduced a new tool to aid law enforcement officers in the battle against drugs and those who suffer from addiction.

The Sheriff, along with Dale Colegrove, co-owner of DCT Detection Services in West Union, shared with those gathered some new technology, a patch that some non-violent and first time offenders can wear or in some cases parents could use in some circumstances concerning their teenage child, which tests for a variety of narcotics and drugs. The patch is one that is court tested in federal and state courts, including one case from the state Supreme Court in South Carolina, according to Sheriff Crenshaw.

The patches will not be available to violent offenders or those with an extensive criminal history but according to Sheriff Crenshaw, it can be a way to lower incarceration costs and perhaps help someone who seeks help to overcome drug addiction. Magistrate’s or Circuit Court judges will have the option as a condition of bond or perhaps as an alternative sentence or in lieu of incarceration consider ordering a defendant to wear the patch.

“It costs the Sheriff’s Office about $60.00 a day to house one inmate,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “However, if a judge orders someone to wear the patch and they are non-violent or a first time offender, they in turn would have to pay $7.50 a day, which covers the costs of shipping the tests to a certified lab and for the posting of the results on a web portal that only those who are certified at DCT Detection can view. The Sheriff’s Office would not receive any money from the program so there is no monetary benefit to us but in turn, there is no taxpayer money that is being spent to incarcerate an inmate. All costs would be paid for by an offender in a criminal case or by a private citizen who asked that the test be administered.”

“Ultimately the goal would be to help someone beat their addictions through counseling and treatment,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “This new tool goes along with our approach to combat the drug problem in Oconee County, which includes prevention, enforcement and treatment. We remind our deputies that if someone wants to put their addiction to narcotics behind, that there are programs out there to help accomplish that and this new tool goes right along with that. I have also met with parents who found out about their child’s drug addiction via arrests, for example, and in part because of those meetings, this was a reason that I wanted to support this technology here in Oconee County. I think it will provide greater accountability to the person who chooses to use illegal drugs, but also greater peace of mind to parents and greater peace of mind in terms of security to law enforcement in regards to defendants using these drugs.”

The drug patch is placed on an individual’s arm by first cleaning the arm and then the patch is applied to the arm by an employee of DCT Detection Services. When it is time for the patch to be removed, sterile tweezers are used to remove the patch. When the patch is sent off to a certified lab, there is a chain of custody form and stickers that are filled out and signed and dated. Each patch has a serial number that matches the paperwork. Then the patch is put into a bag and is signed and sent off.

The test results are available from the lab after 72 hours on a web portal. If there are any positive tests, those results can be printed out and given to those private citizens that requested the test or those in the criminal justice system.

A variety of drugs, including cocaine, opiates (heroin, morphine and codeine), amphetamines, methamphetamines, PCP and marijuana are able to be detected by the patch. One of the many benefits of the patch is its ability to detect the presence of drugs even after the body has had time to process the drugs, which can happen sometimes between the times someone uses the drug and when they are given a urine test.

“Once the drug patch is applied to the skin, it will collect sweat instantly,” according to Mr. Colegrove. “With the patch on, you may be able to possibly pass a urine test but by having the patch on, it will retain that sweat and there is no way to beat that. If someone tries to tamper with it, it will be an automatic failure as a test positive. The patch will be worn for seven to ten days.”

The polyurethane film on the patch, once it is applied, has a clear skin look and will only allow water vapors to pass in and out, which are extremely small in size, according to Mr. Colegrove. Drug molecules are much larger, according to Mr. Colegrove. With that being said, if someone claims that they are testing positive for drugs due to being in a room where drugs are used and they claim they are not using the drugs themselves, then those claims would be proven false if they test positive using the drug patch due to the drug molecules being retained in the patch. The drug patch itself is water resistant.

According to Mr. Colegrove, DCT Detection Services had to be certified to use this product and it has been cleared by the FDA and has been used for over ten years.

“I am responsible for the implementation of our home detention ordinance in the county and the Sheriff’s Office has worked closely with DCT Detection in the past in offering ankle monitoring to the judges in the county as a condition of bond and this drug patch can be another tool that judicial authorities can use,” according to Sheriff Crenshaw.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Walhalla Man on Weapons Charges

Michael Duane Smith

Michael Duane Smith

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walhalla man Sunday on charges of a Felon Being in Possession of a Firearm.

38 year old Michael Duane Smith of Snead Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 4:17pm.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to S. Highway 11 near Mountain Road in regards to a person reported to be intoxicated. Once on scene, the deputy discovered a white male, later identified as Smith, unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a Honda Accord.

The deputy was able to get Smith to respond and with the assistance of a second deputy, both were able escort Smith out of the vehicle. During the process of escorting Smith to a deputy’s vehicle, one of the deputy’s noticed a handgun in Smith’s waist band. For safety purposes of both law enforcement and for Smith, the handgun was secured.

A check with dispatch revealed that Smith is prohibited from possessing or buying a firearm and subsequently, Smith was placed under arrest and transported to the Detention Center, where he was placed on a Temporary Custody Order until an arrest warrant was obtained today.

Smith remains in custody at this time at the Detention Center pending a bond hearing.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Continues Investigation into December 2015 Brock Road Shooting Incident

Captain Greg Reed

Captain Greg Reed

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation into a shooting incident that occurred on December 20th, 2015 that remains unsolved.

The Sheriff’s Office has issued two press releases in the case, one on December 21st, 2015 and one on April 29th, 2016 as well as a statement from Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw that was issued on December 22nd, 2015. The two press releases and the Sheriff’s statement covered the basic information on the shooting incident:

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division were dispatched to 330 Brock Road around 9:52pm on December 20th, 2015 in reference to a shooting incident in which the body of a male subject was discovered lying in the roadway in front of the Brock Road address with a gunshot wound to the chest. Investigators from the Criminal Investigations Division were notified and the process began to gather evidence. According to Sheriff Crenshaw, both the victim and the shooter had weapons on their person when the incident occurred and both were acquaintances of a female who lived at the residence. Evidence was submitted to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for testing with additional testing recently requested and the Sheriff’s Office is awaiting those results. Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office have been following up on leads since the time of the shooting to determine if the shooting was in self-defense or if there is enough probable cause to file charges in the case.

The person identified as the victim in the shooting was then 33 year old Jesse Eugene Mulkey of Westminster, according to Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis. Coroner Addis ruled the case as a homicide.

In the press release from April 16th of last year, investigators sought the help of the public in seeking information on the shooting through Crimestoppers so all available information could be obtained to seek a final resolution of the case.

“In our investigation into this case, our investigators determined that Coax Sanford V was present at the scene and did shoot Jesse Mulkey in the December 2015 incident on Brock Road,” says Oconee Sheriff’s Captain Greg Reed.” Sanford V was arrested a few weeks ago on charges related to a separate shooting at the same Brock Road residence and a pursuit that resulted in an officer involved shooting on Blackjack Road. Our investigators are not at a point in the case to make a definitive determination if the shooting on December 20th, 2015 was in self-defense or intentional”

“Our desire on any case is to seek the truth and bring about a resolution for the victim(s) involved and their families,” continues Captain Reed. “With that said, we always follow the evidence to lead us to the appropriate conclusion in any case and that is what our investigators have been doing since December 20th, 2015. We are asking the public once again if they have any information that can help our investigators to contact our office.”

The Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help again in trying to obtain all the information available in order to bring a resolution to the case. Anyone with any information can contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You don’t have to give your name when you call Crimestoppers and all information obtained through Crimestoppers is confidential. If you tip provides evidence that leads to an arrest and/or charges being filed, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeking the Public’s Help in Regards to Two February 2017 Walmart Shoplifting Cases

February 17th, 2017 Seneca Walmart Shoplifting (1)

February 17th, 2017 Walmart Shoplifting (2)

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in solving two February 17th, 2017 shoplifting cases that occurred at the Seneca Walmart location.

The Sheriff’s Office is also seeking the public’s help in identifying two white males in relation to both shoplifting cases.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded twice during the early afternoon hours of the 17th to the store location on Sandifer Boulevard in which two white males, one with a beard wearing a brown baseball hat and a long sleeve shirt and the other wearing a blue shirt, glasses and a baseball hat leave the store parking lot in a white Toyota Tacoma after shoplifting items in two separate shoplifting incidents.

Included among the items taken or that were attempted to be taken in the two separate shopliftings include extension cords, garden hoses, trailer tires and vacuum cleaners.

If you have any information in regards to these two separate shoplifting cases that occurred on February 17th, 2017 and/or the identity of the two individuals the Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of in relation to the two incidents, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You don’t have to give your name when you call Crimestoppers and all information given is confidential. If your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Sheriff Michael Crenshaw Releases 2016 Summary

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office offers the following report to the citizens of our county concerning crime and law enforcement activities for 2016.

Sheriff Crenshaw includes the following accomplishments that were realized by the dedicated men and women at the Sheriff’s Office working in partnership with the citizens of Oconee County and other law enforcement agencies:

• The new Oconee County Detention Center officially began operations on January 29th, 2016.
• The Sheriff’s Office equipped an additional six of our Uniform Patrol Vehicles with Automated External Defibrillator’s (AED’s) for a total of fourteen in our efforts to provide life saving measures in many instances where our deputies are the first to arrive on a scene.
• The Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the School District of Oconee County, held its second Leadership Camp in June to continue building relationships with our youth.
• The Sheriff’s Office sponsored five pill take back days and collected 590 lbs. of prescription and over the counter medication.
• Tips that came into the Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. program resulted in 7 cases cleared and/or arrests made. Crime Stoppers paid out approximately $800.00 for tips that lead to arrests in 2016.
• The Sheriff’s Office continued to expand its footprint of social media in 2016 with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and You Tube accounts.
• The Sheriff’s Office continued to keep the public and the media informed about activities and enforcement as the Public Information Office issued 282 press releases. Over the last four years, the Public Information Office has issued approximately 1,096 press releases.
• The Sheriff’s Office conducted active shooter training in an effort to further prepare deputies to respond to emergency situations.
• In March, a crew from the syndicated program “Crime Watch Daily” came to Oconee County to profile the unsolved case of Stacey Holsonback. The program aired on March 29th, 2016 across the country.
• First Sergeant Bryan Long was named Officer of the Year twice, first – American Legion Officer of the Year during the Jake Robinson American Legion law enforcement appreciation luncheon in February and also named Officer of the Year during the 11th annual Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet in April.
• The Sheriff’s Office held its third annual law enforcement retiree luncheon in May in conjunction with Police Memorial Week.
• Sheriff Crenshaw announced the TELL Kobie initiative in May of 2016 to bring awareness to the litter problem in our county and to give citizens an anonymous way to report litter locations.
• Sgt. Nina McKee was honored in May of 2016 by HIS Radio as a HIS Radio Hero.
• Two female reserve officers, Kathy Frederick and Sonia Royal, graduated reserve officer training and took their oath in June.
• The Sheriff’s Office with the support of county council added two full time deputies that are assigned to our marine unit to increase law enforcement’s presence on lake’s Keowee, Hartwell, and Jocassee. Two new patrol boats were also acquired.
• The Sheriff’s Office added two new elementary school resource officers with the support of the Oconee County School Board. This provided additional security and mentoring for the students in our county.
• The third Citizens Police Academy graduated on November 1st. 27 individuals graduated from the program.
• Deputy Justin Stokes was awarded the J.P. Strom Award upon graduation from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy in December.
• The Sheriff’s Office conducted three Operation Infinity drug round-ups in 2016.

According to Sheriff’s Office records, the following are some of the violent and property crimes reported in 2016. They include the following:

• 1 homicide
• 10 attempted murder
• 21 death Investigations
• 11 robbery
• 30 aggravated assault
• 5 arson
• 378 burglaries
• 289 shoplifting
• 289 grand larcenies
• 89 motor vehicle theft
• 78 forgery
• 173 financial/fraud crimes
• 211 vandalism
• 40 adult sexual assault
• 203 domestic violence
• 157 crimes against children
• 19 crimes against vulnerable adult

Emergency Communications/E-911 Division 2016

In 2016, 81,493 calls were received for service.

The total amount of telephone calls was 180,707 of which there were 35,375 Emergency 911 calls and 145,332 which were non-emergency calls. Our 911 center receives calls for fire/rescue, EMS, four local police departments, and the Sheriff’s Office. Oconee County dispatch continues to exceed the requirements of the national standards based on NENA and NFPA requirements for 911 calls answered within ten and twenty seconds. Dispatchers spent a total of 5,196 hours on the telephone in 2016 and employees had around 2,767 total training hours during the year. 83% of all 911 calls were from wireless devices.
Special Operations Division

The Sheriff’s Office narcotics unit made 279 drug related cases in 2016. The value of drugs seized was over $1.1 million. The Uniformed Patrol Division made an additional 74 drug cases with the value of drugs seized at $7,900.00. Methamphetamines accounted for the most prevalent drug for the fourth year in a row accounting for 41% of the cases. This is down from meth accounting for 54% of the cases in 2015. This unit saw cases of marijuana and children being exposed to drugs increase in 2016. There were 7 meth labs dismantled during the year.

The warrant unit served 1,321 warrants on 809 individuals. The courthouse unit provided security for judicial proceedings in courts that included 56 days of General Sessions, 169 days of Family Court, 31 days of Common Pleas Court, 22 days of Preliminary Hearings, 24 days of DSS/Court Rule proceedings, and 14 days of Grand Jury proceedings. The Family Court deputy served 724 papers on 654 individuals. 54,860 individuals were scanned through the metal detectors coming into the courthouse. 1,003 defendants were transported from jail to court while 68 trips were made to out of county facilities to transport detained juveniles to and from court.

The Aviation Unit had 49 flights which included 15 law enforcement missions, 23 training missions, and 11 community service missions.

The Marine Unit covered around 2,646 miles in 2016 along Lake Hartwell, Keowee and Jocassee, with 177 vessel safety checks conducted and making contact with 966 individuals on or along the lakes. This unit worked 10 special events on the lakes in our county.

The SWAT team had 8 activations that included high risk drug warrants and assisting other agencies. Training continued on a monthly basis that collectively amounted to 2,560 hours in order to be prepared in the event of an emergent situation.

A specialized interdiction team conducted 377 vehicle stops which resulted in 38 violations, 27 drug cases, and 9 fugitive arrests.

Environmental Services received 142 litter complaints, with the total number of litter charges at 11. Sheriff’s Deputies filed an additional 21 charges for litter which brings the agency total to 32 charges for litter violations. The Sheriff’s Office participated in the Zero Tolerance for Litter campaign in 2016, which was sponsored by Palmetto Pride. The Sheriff’s Inmate work crew picked up approximately 10,703 lbs. of litter along the county’s roadways. The Sheriff’s Office adopted a two mile stretch of Highway 11 and picked up a total of 72 bags of trash using employee volunteers and their family members.

The Training Unit plays a vital role and conducted or coordinated more than 12,809 hours of training for our agency. This includes mandated in-service classes along with advanced and basic academy classes. We have been able to assist the cities of Walhalla and Westminster with in-service training for their police officers.

The Civil Unit served 2,483 papers in 2016 which included 147 evictions/foreclosures.

The K-9 Unit which consists of one German Shepherd, two Dutch Shepherd’s, three Belgian Malinois’s. This unit trained for a combined 628 hours and assisted with vehicle searches, explosive searches, and missing persons.

Uniform Patrol Division 2016

There were 1,189 individuals arrested by the road patrol division.

This division wrote a total of 4,370 incident reports, which is an average of 132 reports per officer.

The division has seven reserve deputies that are mandated to volunteer 20 hours each per month during the year to assist with law enforcement activities. The 1,680 hours per year saves the taxpayers $25,200 based on the cost per hour for a full-time deputy with benefits.

There were 14 uses of force department wide during 2016. Based on 1,189 arrests being made, patrol deputies had to use force on 1.1% of those arrested; two officers were injured in 2016 during use of force encounters with one requiring no medical attention and the other being treated for minor injuries; minor cuts and abrasions on three suspects, of which none was transported to a medical facility but two individuals were transported for mental evaluations.There were 0 uses of deadly force in 2016. Force was used on .32% of all incident reports that were written.

The Sheriff’s Office initiated 1,344 vehicle stops in 2016 compared to 1,770 in 2015 and 1,979 in 2014. The following is a breakdown of the ethnicity for males and females:

2013 – Female – 13 Hispanic, 85 African American, 366 Caucasian, 13 Other
Male – 44 Hispanic, 129 African American, 710 Caucasian, 11 Other

2014 – Female – 24 Hispanic, 106 African American, 535 Caucasian, 13 Other
Male – 82 Hispanic, 216 African American, 988 Caucasian, 15 Other

2015 – Female – 21 Hispanic, 59 African American, 465 Caucasian, 4 other
Male – 67 Hispanic, 146 African American, 971 Caucasian, 16 other

2016 – Female – 21 Hispanic, 24 African American, 337 Caucasian, 12 other
Male – 67 Hispanic, 70 African American, 781 Caucasian, 32 other

The uniform patrol division was involved in 14 vehicle pursuits in 2016 compared to 13 in 2015. Two out of the fourteen pursuits were called off and the suspect was later arrested with a warrant. 1% of all of the vehicle stops made in 2016 resulted in the driver refusing to stop.

Community Services/Criminal Investigation Division 2016

Criminal Investigations was assigned 1,368 cases in 2016. 909 of those cases were cleared. Statistically, Criminal Investigations cleared 66% of their assigned cases.

2,251 cases were assigned to the Victim Services Unit, which includes providing victim services to the cities of Westminster, Walhalla, West Union, and Salem. The Victim Advocates attended court with the victims of crimes 212 times. The Victim Advocates assisted victims with 60 orders of protection being issued. 19 victims of domestic violence were transported to Safe Harbor during the year.

The School Resource Officers taught 118 classes involving approximately 2,694 students. The topics covered in those cases were harassment, bullying, texting, unlawful communication, drugs and alcohol. They conducted 667 student conferences and 270 parent conferences with 114 home visits. There were 16 juvenile referrals to DJJ and 14 citations written. The SRO’s worked 1,043 hours for activities after the school day ended.

Animal Control took in 3,405 animals in 2016, with 1,044 animals adopted and 286 returned to their owners. There were 829 transferred to no kill rescues 1,072 were euthanized. Overall, Animal Control received 1420 calls for service. There were 107 tickets issued. Statistically, 31% of all animals taken in were euthanized while 63% were saved through adoption, transfer to a rescue, or returned to their owner.

Oconee County currently has 181 registered sex offenders. There were 6 warrants signed in 2016 regarding sex offender registry violations. Statistically, the Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Program has a 97% compliance rate.

Community Services welcomed 10 different school groups that toured and had presentations made from different units within the Sheriff’s Office. Twenty two (22) church/business/residential security assessments were conducted. There was eighteen (18) active shooter presentations presented throughout the community. Nine (9) neighborhood Crime Watch meetings were held in various communities. The third annual Citizens Police Academy was held and graduated twenty seven (27) individuals. The CPA alumnus meets on a monthly basis at the Sheriff’s Office to plan future fund raisers as well as other events.

Oconee County Detention Center 2016

The average daily population at the Detention Center for 2016 was 168 compared to 2015 where the average daily population 154.
The total number of bookings (arrestees processed) declined, from 3,879 in 2015 to 3,654 in 2016.
The Detention Center averaged 137 males per day along with 31 females based on the average daily population.
There was an average of 135 pre-trial inmates per day compared to 33 sentenced inmates per day based on the average daily population.

IN TERMS OF PERCENTAGES:
Of the total facility population, 80.36% was pre-trial and 19.64% was sentenced.
Of the pre-trial population, 83.70% was male and 16.30% was female.
Of the sentenced population, 72.73% was male and 27.27% was female.
Of the total facility population, 81.55% was male and 18.45% was female.

30 inmates were placed in electronic monitoring in 2016.

SUMMARY

The Sheriff’s Office continues to promote community oriented policing principles of establishing relationships with our citizens and building partnerships to make our county a safer place. We strive to maintain a spirit of transparency. We continue to work hard to earn the trust of the public we serve.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Greenville Man on Multiple Charges after Early Morning Traffic Stop

Terry Blake Segars

Terry Blake Segars

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Greenville man earlier this morning on multiple charges after a traffic stop that was conducted along I-85 in the southern part of the county.

30 year old Terry Blake Segars of Mary Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 4:00am.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division on routine patrol observed a vehicle that failed to maintain its lane while traveling along I-85 southbound. The driver also would erratically hit the brakes on the vehicle which slowed down the speed of the vehicle.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop which took place near the South Carolina/Georgia line along I-85. The deputy approached the vehicle and advised the driver for the reason for the stop, all the while noticing the driver acting extremely nervous. The driver, identified as Segars, was unable to locate his driver’s license.

The deputy was informed by dispatch that the vehicle that Segars was driving was reported stolen out of Greenville County. Dispatch also informed the deputy that Segars had a suspended driver’s license and that Segars was a habitual traffic offender.

Segars was placed under arrest. An inventory of the vehicle conducted by the deputy produced a quantity of pills inside of the vehicle. Segars was transported to the Detention Center, where upon arriving at the jail, the deputy discovered a bag containing a white crystal substance lying at Segars feet in the floorboard and another quantity of a controlled substance was discovered in the pocket of his pants.

After being processed for evidence, the vehicle was later towed away from the scene of the traffic stop. The value of the vehicle, according to authorities in Greenville, is around $16,000.

Segars has been charged in arrest warrants with one count each of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Distribution of Methamphetamine and of being a Habitual Traffic Offender. Segars has also been charged in warrants with two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance (Clonazepam and Alprazolam).

Segars was also issued citations for Changing Lanes Unlawfully and for Driving under Suspension.

Segars remains in custody at this time at the Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

A hold has been also been placed on Segars by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Mauldin Police Department.

Survey Identifies Common Traits in Victims of Investment Fraud

AARP Fraud Watch Network Launches Campaign to Help Investors Learn Who Should be Most Alert
Comments from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and U.S. Attorney Beth Drake

Release Courtesy of Patrick Cobb
AARP South Carolina
Communications/Voter Engagement

Columbia, SC – With Americans losing tens of billions of dollars annually to investment fraud schemes, what mindsets and behaviors are common among those who fall victim? A new survey by the AARP Fraud Watch Network finds that the most susceptible typically exhibit an unusually high degree of confidence in unregulated investments and tend to trade more actively than the general investor population. More of the investment scam victims also reported that they value wealth accumulation as a significant measure of success in life and acknowledged being open to unsolicited telephone and email sales pitches.

Based on these findings, the AARP Fraud Watch Network has launched a campaign to warn consumers about the inclinations and activities common to investment fraud victims. The campaign includes an online quiz designed to prompt investors to consider adjusting their investment approach if results show they fit the profile of those most at risk of becoming a victim.

The AARP survey found stark differences between the past investment fraud victims and regular investors in three areas:

Psychological Mindset – More victims reported preferring unregulated investments, valuing wealth accumulation as a measure of success in life, being open to sales pitches, being willing to take risks, and describing themselves as ideologically conservative.

Behavioral Characteristics – Victims reported that they more frequently receive targeted phone calls and emails from brokers, they make five or more investment decisions each year, and more of them respond to remote sales pitches – those delivered via telephone, email or television commercials.

Demographics – Somewhat replicating the previous industry studies, higher percentages of victims were found to be of older age, male, married and military veterans.

According to U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, prosecuting dishonest brokers and investment advisors is a significant focus and unfortunately all too routine for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “There is a reason we all say that ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’ You can and should protect your hard-earned money by determining if the broker or investment advisor is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission before you place funds in the broker’s control. Go to www.investor.gov and do your due diligence before you invest your money.”

Attorney Drake added, “Con-artists – which is what a dishonest broker is – can be very convincing and will go to extraordinary lengths to support their scam and get your money. According to Attorney Drake, a typical case is where an advisor claims to be able to beat the market with specialized knowledge, instruments not generally accessible to the public or limited access. In U.S. v. Leben, the defendant claimed to have access to discounted securities that he could trade at face value, but instead, he pocketed most of the funds invested, and his victims lost over $2.3 million dollars. Then there was the Atlantic Bullion and Coin case, where the defendant claimed to be investing in a rising silver and gold market, and investors in the upstate lost millions.

Drake added that these criminal prosecutions often end with jail sentences for the offenders, but unfortunately rarely does the criminal process result in full restitution of the invested funds to the victims. “Most of the time, the scammers spend their ill-gotten gains on a lavish life style, which is all the more reason to do the due diligence in investigating the investment on the front end.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson adds, “I encourage all South Carolinians to remain vigilant in protecting their hard earned money. In order to work with South Carolinians, broker-dealers and their agents and investment advisers and their representatives, with very limited exceptions, must register with the Securities Division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. If you are unsure whether the firm or individual you are dealing with is registered to do business in South Carolina and is in good standing, contact our office. It is always important to stay alert and be cautious when trusting someone with your investment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to reach out to our office. Visit www.scag.gov for more information.”

By taking the AARP Fraud Watch Network’s online quiz, investors can learn whether they possess the characteristics that may predict likely fraud victimization. Investors who score high on the quiz are urged to apply a new level of caution when they receive unsolicited investment overtures, and adhere to the following investor protection tips:

• Do: Invest only with registered advisors and investments.
• Don’t: Make an investment decision based solely on a TV ad, a telemarketing call or an email.
• Do: Put yourself on the Do Not Call list.
• Do: Get a telephone call blocking system to screen out potential scammers.
• Do: Limit the amount of personal information you give to salespersons until you verify their credentials.
• Don’t: Make an investment decision when you are under stress. For example, when you’ve recently experienced a stressful life event such as the loss of a job, an illness or death of a loved one.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network was launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. The website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations featuring Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale. Users may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver breaking scam information, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Makes Arrests in Relation to Two January 2017 Walmart Shoplifting Cases

Ebony Darrelnisha Glaze

Ebony Darrelnisha Glaze

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in relation to two shoplifting cases that occurred last month at the Seneca Walmart.

17 year old Ebony Darrelnisha Glaze of Smith Street in Anderson was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 6:10pm Sunday after being transported from the Spartanburg County Detention Center.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a press release on January 27th seeking the public’s help in solving two shoplifting cases that occurred at the store location at 1636 Sandifer Boulevard.

The Sheriff’s Office was also seeking the public’s help in identifying two females in relation to both shopliftings and a male in relation to the second shoplifting.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the Sandifer Boulevard location on two separate occasions in regards to two separate shopliftings.

During the first shoplifting which occurred on January 19th, an employee of the store told the deputy that two black females came into the store and concealed a quantity of PlayStation 4 controllers and then left the store without paying for the items.

During the second shoplifting which occurred on January 21st, an employee of the store told the deputy that two black females and one black male came into the store and took a quantity of PlayStation 4 controllers and left the store without paying for the items. The individuals were seen leaving in a silver 4 door car.

The approximate combined value of the controllers taken in the two shopliftings is $1,584.91.

Based upon the evidence gathered during the investigation, deputies obtained arrest warrants against Glaze on February 3rd.

Glaze was released from the Detention Center on February 20th on a combined $3,000 personal recognizance bond.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Makes Second Arrest in 2016 Grand Larceny Case

Ashley Gail Settlemyre

Ashley Gail Settlemyre

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has made a second arrest in a Grand Larceny case from November of 2016.

In a press release issued by the Sheriff’s Office on November 17th, 2016, the Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest at that time of 27 year old Michael Joseph Marcello, Jr. of Malibu Drive on a charge of Grand Larceny.

Over this past weekend, 30 year old Ashley Gail Settlemyre of Westminster was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 3:52pm after turning herself in at the Law Enforcement Center on Saturday. The arrest warrant lists Settlemyre’s address as Poultry Drive while the Detention Center lists her address as Malibu Drive. Settlemyre was served an arrest warrant on one charge of Grand Larceny and also served two outstanding bench warrants, one from Seneca and one from Walhalla.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division received a call on November 14th of last year from a complainant who resides at an address on Lisa Lane in Mountain Rest in regards to a vehicle and other items that was taken from the residence. The vehicle, a green 1993 Chevrolet Suburban, was entered into the National Crimes Information Center database and a BOLO was also issued for the vehicle to surrounding law enforcement agencies as well. The case was then turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division.

As the investigation continued, the vehicle that was stolen was located at an address on Sims Circle in the Walhalla area. The vehicle was turned over to the victim after being processed for evidence by deputies. After checking the vehicle upon its return, the victim reported that items were taken from the vehicle, including the vehicle tag.

The total amount taken is around $4,500 to $4,600 dollars, according to deputies.

As a result of the investigation and the evidence gathered, investigators obtained arrest warrants against Marcello, Jr. and Settlemyre.

As of 3pm today, Settlemyre remains in custody at the Detention Center. She was given a $5,000 surety bond on the Grand Larceny charge.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Pickens Man on Burglary and Larceny Charges

Benjamin Earl Mosley

Benjamin Earl Mosley

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Pickens man on charges of Grand Larceny and 3rd Degree Burglary over the weekend.

41 year old Benjamin Earl Mosley was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:44pm Friday after being transported from the Pickens County Detention Center. Arrest warrants list Mosley’s address as Copperhead Lane while the Detention Center lists Mosley’s address as Mountain Lake Estates.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on N. Highway 11 on January 30th of this year in regards to a burglary that had already occurred at a storage facility in which the complainants told the deputy that their motorhome had been stolen. The vehicle and tag information was entered into the National Crimes Information Center database as the investigation began. The victims told the deputy that the value of the motor home was around $35,000.

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division. As the investigation continued, it was determined that Mosley had stolen the motorhome and broke into the storage building as well.

The motorhome was eventually recovered and returned to the victims.

As of 3pm today, Mosley remains in custody at the Detention Center on a combined $15,000 surety bond.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.