Oct. 4, 2005 — The jury filed out of the courtroom Tuesday to begin its deliberations after the week-long wire fraud trial of former Sen. Carlton Dowe.
Dowe, 48, was charged in August 2004 with two counts of wire fraud for allegedly over-billing the U.S. Virgin Islands government more than $75,000 in 1999. He collected the money in 2001.
Dowe's attorney, Treston Moore, told the jury his client may have been right or wrong in billing the V.I. government for back pay, but that Dowe's honest opinion did not constitute fraud.
Dowe, a former Fire Services director, said he did not know how much extra pay he would get and simply accepted the amount former Fire Services accountant Rosalie Corcino said was due to him for back pay.
Corcino testified last week that Dowe came to her repeatedly, telling her how to add raises due to him because had earned college degrees in his field. The raises are called career incentive pay.
At question is whether Dowe's $50,000 settlement of a lawsuit against the government in 1999 for extra pay excluded him from collecting the career incentive pay.
Prosecutors said that by knowingly billing the government again for career incentive pay and getting it through his Chase bank account, Dowe committed wire fraud.
"If he felt he had a legal entitlement to it, he would have gone through the long, slow legal process of getting it," said assistant U.S. Attorney Natashia Tidwell. "He concealed the fact that he had already received the $50,000 settlement from the court."
Dowe, who maintains he was entitled to career incentive from as far back as 1991, said he had never signed any agreement that barred him from collecting pay due to him.
If convicted, Dowe could face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The jury is scheduled to resume its deliberations Wednesday morning.
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