82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesOfficers Search St. Thomas Homes for Ties to Huge D.C. Scam

Officers Search St. Thomas Homes for Ties to Huge D.C. Scam

Nov. 21, 2007 — Federal and local law-enforcement officials searched two homes on St. Thomas Wednesday, reportedly part of an investigation into the theft of $20 million from the city of Washington, D.C.
The FBI's San Juan office confirmed late Wednesday that its agents, along with deputies from the U.S. Marshal's Office and officers from the V.I. Police Department, searched the homes based on warrants issued by V.I. Magistrate Geoffrey W. Bernard.
While the FBI declined to say what prompted the searches, a story in the Washington Post Wednesday says the searches are part of an investigation into the largest theft in the D.C. government's history.
Harriette Walters, an employee of the city's Office of Tax and Revenue, was imprisoned Nov. 7 on charges connected to a seven-year property-tax scam that authorities said benefited her and several others, allegedly including two siblings, both residents of St. Thomas, according to the Post.
The FBI confirmed executing a search warrant at 295 Hillside Drive on St. Thomas at noon Wednesday, and subsequently was given a consent to search at a residence located at 5-1 Estate Sorgenfri. The Post claims these residences belong to Harriett Walters' siblings, Cecilia Walters Smith and Richard Walters, but neither has been charged in connection with the case, according to the Post.
Harry Rodriguez, media representative for the FBI's Puerto Rico and V.I. district, declined to say what evidence, if any, was uncovered, except that "there was reason to believe that evidence of a crime might exist."
A court filing alleges that Walters' niece, Jayrece Turnbull, was also arrested and jailed for allegedly controlling accounts holding at least $12.7 million of the stolen money, the Post reported. Turnbull is described as the principal partner in the scam and a native of Puerto Rico. Her mother lives in the Virgin Islands, according to the Post, although no name was mentioned.
Walters reportedly faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted of fraud, theft and conspiracy charges. The Post reported that authorities said she provided a handwritten statement to the FBI that prosecutors have described as a confession.
Upon raiding Walters' home Nov. 7, authorities reportedly found mink coats; 90 handbags, many of them carrying labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci; 68 pairs of shoes; designer luggage; and a Rolex watch, among other luxury items. Walters reportedly earned a salary of $81,000, but according to the Post, authorities claim she deposited $8 million into her personal checking account and spent $1.4 million at Neiman Marcus.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Nov. 21, 2007 -- Federal and local law-enforcement officials searched two homes on St. Thomas Wednesday, reportedly part of an investigation into the theft of $20 million from the city of Washington, D.C.
The FBI's San Juan office confirmed late Wednesday that its agents, along with deputies from the U.S. Marshal's Office and officers from the V.I. Police Department, searched the homes based on warrants issued by V.I. Magistrate Geoffrey W. Bernard.
While the FBI declined to say what prompted the searches, a story in the Washington Post Wednesday says the searches are part of an investigation into the largest theft in the D.C. government's history.
Harriette Walters, an employee of the city's Office of Tax and Revenue, was imprisoned Nov. 7 on charges connected to a seven-year property-tax scam that authorities said benefited her and several others, allegedly including two siblings, both residents of St. Thomas, according to the Post.
The FBI confirmed executing a search warrant at 295 Hillside Drive on St. Thomas at noon Wednesday, and subsequently was given a consent to search at a residence located at 5-1 Estate Sorgenfri. The Post claims these residences belong to Harriett Walters' siblings, Cecilia Walters Smith and Richard Walters, but neither has been charged in connection with the case, according to the Post.
Harry Rodriguez, media representative for the FBI's Puerto Rico and V.I. district, declined to say what evidence, if any, was uncovered, except that "there was reason to believe that evidence of a crime might exist."
A court filing alleges that Walters' niece, Jayrece Turnbull, was also arrested and jailed for allegedly controlling accounts holding at least $12.7 million of the stolen money, the Post reported. Turnbull is described as the principal partner in the scam and a native of Puerto Rico. Her mother lives in the Virgin Islands, according to the Post, although no name was mentioned.
Walters reportedly faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted of fraud, theft and conspiracy charges. The Post reported that authorities said she provided a handwritten statement to the FBI that prosecutors have described as a confession.
Upon raiding Walters' home Nov. 7, authorities reportedly found mink coats; 90 handbags, many of them carrying labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci; 68 pairs of shoes; designer luggage; and a Rolex watch, among other luxury items. Walters reportedly earned a salary of $81,000, but according to the Post, authorities claim she deposited $8 million into her personal checking account and spent $1.4 million at Neiman Marcus.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.