PBSO Detective Quits After Probe Into Charity

A Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office special investigations detective has resigned after an internal affairs investigation revealed his involvement in the defrauding of a charity called “The Children of Wounded Warriors”. Another deputy gutted funds from the charity to use for personal expenses. That deputy is now in prison. Detective James Suarez may face a similar fate. In this article, we’ll discuss the fraud, what happened, and if anyone else will be charged.

The Allegations

Authorities say that Detective James Suarez served on the board of The Children of Wounded Warriors without PBSO permission. He is further accused of soliciting donations for the charity during an investigation. Internal Affairs also believes that Suarez tipped off the deputy who is now in prison and contacted him several hundred times after his arrest.  The IA investigation revealed that IA believed that they had “probable cause” to press charges but they weren’t sure about their chances of getting a conviction. They have not filed charges against Suarez yet. Suarez sent a letter to the department through his attorney indicating that he would maintain his innocence and vehemently deny any allegations against him.

The Children of Wounded Warriors

The Children of Wounded Warriors was a charity that purported to help the children of veterans who were severely disabled or killed in combat or the line of duty. Such veterans have the ability to apply for veterans’ disability benefits through the VA, but those cases take a long time to approve. Those who donated to the charity believed that nearly all of their money would be going to help support the children of injured veterans, police officers, emergency responders, and others. Instead, about two-thirds of the funds were redirected to the now-imprisoned deputy’s personal checking account. That detective pleaded guilty and is now serving a five-year sentence in prison. That same detective was also implicated in a patient-brokering scheme to funnel money to a drug-treatment center that he owned. He paid money to “sober homes” to send him patients with private insurance, which is also illegal.

Suarez was listed as the treasurer of the charity but told police he was treasurer in name only had no direct control over the funds. During the investigation, Suarez was asked not to tip off his buddy but later admitted to doing so. The reason why Suarez is not being charged is that the amount of money stolen is somewhere in the range of $40,000 and all of those funds made it into the other deputy’s personal bank account. IA could not prove that Suarez was involved in the fraud, benefited from the fraud, or even so much as new that the charity’s coffers were being raided by a fellow board member.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re being charged with fraud or any other white collar crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help you defend yourself from the charges and get them dropped or negotiate a reduced plea. Call today to learn more.

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