Thursday, January 26, 2017

Deputy Charged With Embezzlement, St. Augustine Record Prints Press Release

SGT. ROBERT GOBER, III, head of the Police Athletic League, has resigned.
GOBER quit, he was not fired.
GOBER quit after some $30,000 of PAL funds were missing or questioned, after the FBI was notified, after the United Way complained, and after Sheriff SHOAR decided to question his personal assistant's cousin, GOBER.

Sheriff SHOAR's personal assistant, LEE OWEN, paid $4000/month,
ran Sheriff SHOAR's campaign, said he would "trust my life" to his cousin, Sgt. GOBER."

Yes, Sheriff SHOAR's personal assistant, LEE OWEN, 23, an ex-law student, said on the campaign trial, substituting for SHOAR, that GOBER was his cousin and he would "trust him with my life."
It took place at the May 23, 2016 Republican Women's forum, where, Mr. LEE OWEN, the Sheriff's campaign manager, the person speaking in Sheriff SHOAR's place, did not know the "Mission Statement" of St. Johns County Sheriff's Department. Wonder why?

Dodgy LEE OWEN was a law student, former law clerk for Upchurch, Bailey & Upchurch and former law clerk to State's Attorney R.J. Larizza, identified as a "special assistant" to SHOAR (not reflected on SHOAR's campaign expenses.

Like a "designated hitter" in baseball, or a de facto dupe, the designated javelin catcher, playing RONALD LOUIS ZIEGLER to SHOAR's RICHARD MILHOUS NIXON, uninformed staff assistant LEE OWEN was seen talking nonsense and wearing a lapel badge at the St. Johns County Federated Republican Women forum SHOAR skipped.

Notice that when Police Athletic League monies are allegedly misspent on personal expenditures, the ineffable defenders of corrupt Sheriff SHOAR, local schnooks and the corrupt status quo, the feckless Republican owners of the incurious St. Augustine Record apparently printed only a press release, without identifying it as such?
The byline "By the Record" sans reporter name ordinarily denotes the Mullet Wrapper is printing a press release.
Did Sheriff DAVID SHOAR turn on Deputy GOBER as a tactic in the  midst of the FBI Corruption Task Force investigation of St. Johns County?  Where's the rest of the money?

St. Johns County deputy removed from position

Sergeant Robert Gober III, who served as the executive director of the Police Athletic League, has been removed from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and his position at the Police Athletic League after an investigation showed the misuse of funds, a Sheriff’s Office report said.
Investigators with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office accuse Gober of improper handling of Police Athletic League funds. There is one count of organized scheme to defraud pending a State Attorney’s office review.
Detectives began their investigation after Sheriff’s Office employees became concerned about how Police Athletic League funds were being appropriated and possible discrepancies in how funds were being accounted for. 
St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar directed that an investigation to determine whether a crime was committed. 
An investigation was also ordered to determine whether any agency policies were violated.
At that time, Gober was placed on administrative leave and temporarily removed from the Police Athletic League.
The investigation revealed numerous questionable charges including hotel rooms for Police Athletic League trips, gift cards and dinners where alcohol was served. It was also learned that Gober was collecting funds from event registrations and concession stand purchases without validating the amounts of money, before making documented and undocumented expenditures.
The criminal investigation revealed that Gober had purchased items for personal use in the amount of $1,302.89 with the Police Athletic League debit card. Some of the purchased items included sunglasses, a vehicle repair bill, bike repairs and tickets to an NBA game, fantasy football league purchases and custom-made calendars.
Following the criminal investigation, an internal review revealed that Gober committed numerous policy violations.
(edited)13 hours ago
First Coaster
Ruh roh.  

"Removed"  Is that a polite way of saying "fired?"
8 hours ago
Andrew Stack
$1300 over 9 years.  In accounting that's called a "rounding" error.  Ridiculous.  Have known this man and volunteered for this organization for 5 years.  The best run youth sports program in St. John's County, by far.  For Sgt. Gober, it was always about the kids.  Not daddy-ball, not false promises of future athletic stardom like many of the football and lacrosse programs around the county that charge 2, 3 or 4 times as much.  I can assure you he has probably come out of pocket ten times over $1300 by grabbing a meal for a kid that comes to practice hungry, picking up some cleats for a family in need or waiting thousands of hours for a mom or dad that "forgot" what time practice ended.  
5 hours ago
Kevin Jennings
Yeah, right.  If this was some Joe Blow and not your personal buddy, you'd be singing a different tune.  Apparently, the Sheriff feels that your buddy committed a crime and acted appropriately by getting rid of this thief.  So, was the evidence manufactured?  Or are you just saying "Hey, he's a good guy.  It was such a small amount, he doesn't deserve this treatment."  So, is there a concrete line, in your world, that has to be crossed before someone is a criminal?  Or do they just have to be someone you've known and can personally vouch for?
2 hours ago
Dee Gallatin
Your right Andy.  Robbie is a great mentor and made the 3 years my son was in PAL football some of the best years of my life.  He is and always will be an awesome person to me and my family!!
4 hours ago
A.J. Craft
I've known this man and his family since I was nine years old. He had a huge impact on building up the PAL program and serving the St. Augustine community for DECADES. This sounds more like a failure of accounting procedures more than anything. 

Of course anything is possible and yes, the law is the law, especially in a law enforcement position. I'm aware that we never really know anyone. I also believe it's odd that he would ruin his career, retirement pension, etc over $1300. If his intentions were bad, then he needs to be held accountable, but for a small amount that doesn't sound like an intent to steal hordes of money with the pencil-thin black moustache and mad scientist laugh here. It sounds like he got lazy and didn't accurately record funds. 

He's a cop, not an accountant, and I can completely believe the line of thinking of using one card to pay for things and thinking it's okay to pay it back with cash or another form of payment. Most of us don't know how accounting works, even basic accounting and would think we could do the same thing. 

It's a whole different perspective when you actually know the person who's being crucified in the public media because you can weigh what you know about their character with the events. Especially 25 years of character and service.  I hope this is all a misunderstanding and his intentions were not ill will because I know he's dedicated years to serving the PAL organization and the community. 

I don't think anyone will debate the ethics of handling money appropriately, we're all in agreement here. But if there's more to the story that can be reasonably explained and his intent was not to defraud the organization, then his entire reputation has just been shredded by the media who could care less than to make their daily quota of news stories. 

Meanwhile, his family now has to deal with the stigma in a small town like St. Augustine. Don't think it's right at all, but I'm sure more details will come to light. On the other hand, if it's all true and exactly as the media portrays it to be, then he will have to be held accountable. It's just that decades of character also carry quite a bit of testimony for those who know him and his family. 

Of course, we all have the temptation of doing the wrong thing and making mistakes.  Just strange that it's such a small amount and decades of upstanding character are in direct opposition to this limited information. It's very possible that he did a poor job of accurately accounting for the money, and yes that's a mistake when you are a law enforcement officer, but I'm not going to slam the man. He definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt and the truth either way will come to light and consequences will be handed out accordingly.

It's easy to drive-by a story like this and pass judgment on a stranger before moving on with our daily lives and not giving another thought to our words or actions.

There are MANY in St. Augustine willing to stand up for and by him and vouch for his character and integrity after knowing him for all these years. We're not ready just yet to cast him to the wolves. That alone says something about the man and should be taken into consideration.
1 hour ago
Andrea Kinney
Sergeant Gober passionately ran a wonderful athletic league for the kids of St Augustine, keeping them out of trouble, building character and teaching them important skills that will carry through their adult lives. He helped disadvanted kids play sports that they might not have been able to afford to play elsewhere. We dont have the whole story here. I prefer to focus and not forget all the good he did.
1 hour ago
Eleven District
So let me get this straight. You think a man who had dedicated his career and time to helping kids in this community would risk his entire career on $144.44 a year in unauthorized charges? Is it possible these things were all related to the discharging of his duties. Was he properly reimbursed for all the things and personal funds he expended. Is it possible, that some of these errors...were just honest mistakes. It seems to me very plausible that a witch hunt is taking place...and this disgusts me. I know from experience how he treats kids, and parents...and I am outraged that the go for the jugular approach to this man. We have other LEO's on the street who have done far worse...and they know it. 

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Action News Jacksonville
13 hours ago
JUST IN: The nearly 25-year veteran with St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is accused of spending $1,300 on NBA tickets, sunglasses and bike and car repairs, among other things:

St. Johns County sergeant accused of spending $1,300 of PAL funds for personal use

by: Amanda Winkle, Action News Jax Updated: 

St. Johns County sergeant accused of spending $1,300 of PAL funds for personal use
by: Amanda Winkle, Action News Jax Updated: Jan 26, 2017 - 8:14 AM

A St. Johns County deputy has been "separated" from his position after a criminal investigation revealed that he used more than $1,300 of Police Athletic League funds to purchase items for personal use.

A criminal investigation into Sgt. Robert Gober III began a few months ago when SJSO employees raised concerns about how PAL funds were being appropriated, according to a news release from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

The St. Johns County PAL is a nonprofit organization that "is committed to providing safe and structured activities to the youth of St. Johns County," according to its website.

Gober was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, which found that "Gober has purchased items for personal use in the amount of $1,302.89" with a PAL debit card, the release detailed. Some of those items included custom-made calendars, fantasy football league purchases, tickets to an NBA basketball game, bike repairs, a vehicle-repair bill and sunglasses.

The investigation also found, according to the release, that "numerous questionable charges ranging from hotel rooms for PAL trips, gift cards, and dinners where alcohol was served to a limited and select number of volunteers." Those were policy violations, not criminal ones, SJSO Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said.

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He had also collected money from PAL concession-stand purchases and event registrations, according to the release, "without validating the amounts of money, before making documented and undocumented expenditures."

After the criminal investigation, an administrative investigation was conducted and it was found that Gober violated numerous policies.

Gober had been with the sheriff's office for nearly 25 years, according to the PAL Facebook page. Mulligan said Gober has been responsible for huge growth in the PAL program, but SJSO cannot overlook any missteps.

Sheriff David Shoar said he faces one count of organized scheme to defraud pending the review of the State Attorney's Office. He has not been arrested, and would only be if the State Attorney's Office issued an arrest warrant.

Gober was notified by Sheriff Shoar about the charge, at which point he chose to resign, Mulligan said. Because he resigned while under investigation, Gober's file will be sent to the state to determine if he can work in law enforcement again.

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Shoar said in a statement in the release:

The Police Athletic League in St. Johns County has been one of the best programs the Sheriff’s Office has ever been involved with. It is a cost effective sports program for our youth and has been a positive influence for several decades, and even though it is an autonomous program apart from the Sheriff’s Office, we will continue to treat it as part of our family of community programs and will continue to support it and to devote sufficient resources to it.”

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