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Sheriff's Office

Criminals for Hire?
 
Posted: 9/13/2013 12:00 AM
 

During August of 2009, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu spoke before the Board of Supervisors at a public meeting and asked them to change the County Hiring Policy which allows them to hire convicted felons and those with extensive criminal records to trusted government positions. He made the proposal after two high profile cases made not only local but also national news.
 
In the first case, then County Recorder Laura Dean-Lytle hired her daughter’s boyfriend, convicted felon Albert Robbs, immediately upon his release from prison to work in the County Recorder's Office. The County Recorder's office placed Robbs in a position that gave him access to Pinal County residents' checking account numbers, credit card information, and social security numbers.
 
Robbs immediately began stealing checks submitted to the recorder's office and then turning them over to one of three accomplices (Larry Garcia) as payment for drugs. The other two accomplices were indicted for forgery, aggravated identity theft, possession of dangerous and narcotic drugs for sale, and fraudulent schemes and artifices racking up nearly $100,000 in retail purchases. Albert Robbs was arrested and indicted for identity theft and assisting in a criminal syndicate.
 
The second case occurred in the Pinal County Superior Court, after another convicted felon was hired as a Bailiff. Royzell Williams had served nine years in state prison for theft, possession and sale/distribution of drugs. He was hired as a bailiff upon his release from prison. During August of 2009 he was arrested, booked and charged with accepting bribes in exchange for attempting to influence the outcome of cases before the Superior Court. The case originated after our office learned he was accepting money from individuals who had cases in front of a judge promising them a better outcome for their cases. An undercover operation was conducted and Williams accepted money in exchange for fixing the outcome of a case.
 
Despite these two cases, Pinal County Board of Supervisors refused to change the County Hiring Policy.
 
Tonight at 10 p.m. Channel 12 Investigative Reporter Wendy Halloran is going to announce her investigative findings regarding this issue in a story called “Criminals for Hire.”


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Click Here for Video
  (more details below)

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A few of the recent cases she will be highlighting include the following individuals:
 
Daniel Fisk
Mr. Fisk still currently works in Pinal County Finance and has access to employee names, addresses, social security numbers and paychecks. A check of his criminal history shows he is an “investigative lead” in an unsolved theft case, he was arrested for two felony drug offenses, he has been arrested 3 times for outstanding warrants after he failed to appear in court and he received an Extreme DUI three months before being hired by the County to a sensitive trusted government position. What is even more outrageous is the fact he was hired to that position while he was on “probation” from the original drug offense charge and he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for DUI. His blood alcohol level was a .256 which is more than 3 times the legal limit. He knew about the warrant yet never took care of it and instead continued to work for Pinal County in a trusted government position for over 4 years before being caught by Gilbert Police for the outstanding arrest warrant.
 
Yes Mr. Fisk still works in the same position today despite the fact he was even caught by supervisors driving a County vehicle while his license was suspended for his DUI.
 
The other three cases involve employees who already were hired by Pinal County and were working for County Facility Maintenance when we were asked to allow them inside of our Sheriff’s Office to clean the building. As our office does with all employees, volunteers and other individuals who have access to our building, we conducted a criminal history check. The individuals allowed to clean our building usually have unsupervised access to restricted areas that most Sheriff's Office staff are denied access, including HR, 9-1-1 Dispatch, Detectives, Narcotics Task Force, Records and senior command staff offices. As you can tell by their criminal background below they were denied access to our building and returned to their jobs working for County Facility Maintenance.
 
Brian Evans (October 19, 2012)
When asked if he has ever committed a felony he said “no.” When asked if he has ever sold, smuggled or transported marijuana for sale he said, “No.”
 
His record shows he was arrested for multiple felony crimes including aggravated assault, stalking and harassment between1997-2012, then in July 2012 he became a convicted felon on domestic violence related crimes, he is a prohibited possessor of weapons and he is on felony probation.
 
Frank Lopez (December 17th, 2012)
When asked if he had ever committed a criminal offense involving dishonesty, theft, unlawful sexual conduct or physical violence he said, “No.”
 
His record shows he was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale in 1987, 2000 and 2012. In 1991 he was arrested for assault and in 2003 DUI.
 
Heather Marie Ojeda (July 26th, 2013)
When asked if she has ever committed a felony she said “no.” When asked if she had ever committed a criminal offense involving dishonesty, theft, unlawful sexual conduct or physical violence she said, “No.”
 
Her record shows she has multiple arrests and convictions for battery, retail theft and traffic related offenses. Chicago Police Department has a “Caution” warning for law enforcement when dealing with her.
 
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “I want to thank Investigative Reporter Wendy Halloran for reporting on this matter. After she began investigating this issue, Pinal County has agreed to review their County Hiring Policy and the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors has agreed to ask the County Manager to conduct an investigation into each of the individuals. Pinal County Government has thousands of employees, these are only four recent examples our office has come across. Trust in government is important to any democracy. As the people charged with running government on a day to day basis, government employees must be especially trustworthy and honest in their jobs so as to enable government to maintain the trust in the citizens we serve”

Public Information Officer

Tim Gaffney
520.705.8124
pcsopio@pinalcountyaz.gov



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