Thieving Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Deputy SCOTT P. HAINES lied to FBI about stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly woman. Why no victim restitution? Orlando Sentinel article a week after USDOJ press release -- newspaper reporting leaves much to be desired. Why such a short story? Sad. Do your jobs, journalists!
From Orlando Sentinel:
Former Florida deputy sheriff sentenced for lying to FBI, DOJ says
By Garfield Hylton
Nov 28, 2022 at 3:10 pm
A former Florida deputy was sentenced to more than a year in federal prison for lying to the FBI.
On Nov. 22, a judge handed down the sentence to Scott P. Haines, 50, of Milton, after his previous guilty plea on the charge of making material false statements to the FBI during an investigation that accused Haines of exploiting an elderly victim, the Department of Justice reported.
Haines was previously a deputy with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. During his plea in federal court, he admitted to a “personal involvement” with the elderly woman in Santa Rosa County, the DOJ stated.
He managed her property, finances and took rental payments on the woman’s behalf. He deposited those payments into his bank account without her permission, according to the DOJ.
When FBI agents confronted him about his role, he lied about depositing the money into his account, and his involvement with her rental properties and denied any knowledge of being in the woman’s will.
The original federal indictment came in January 2022 when Haines was also arrested on state charges of exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult, theft from a person 65 years of age or older, and unauthorized access of a computer system or network.
The federal plea agreement Haines signed in June stated he would plead guilty to just the one federal charge while the rest would be dismissed, and no victim restitution would be sought in the case, according to court documents.
The sheriff’s office cooperated fully with the FBI and FDLE investigation and immediately relieved Haines of his duties before the filing of criminal charges, the DOJ stated.
“Police officers are given immense trust and responsibility and are therefore held to a higher standard,” said Sherri E. Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, “so there are serious consequences when one tarnishes the badge by breaking the law.”
Onks said Haines “disgraced his uniform” and emphasized the FBI has “zero tolerance for officials who prey on the citizens they have sworn to protect.”
Haines is now a convicted felon and will serve a year under supervised release when his prison term is complete.
FBI press release:
Former Santa Rosa County Deputy Sheriff Sentenced To Federal Prison
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Scott P. Haines, 50, of Milton, Florida, was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison, following his previous guilty plea on the charge of making material false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during an elder exploitation investigation. United States Attorney Jason R. Coody announced the sentence.
“Criminal conduct by those sworn to uphold the law represents a betrayal of the public trust,” stated U.S. Attorney Coody. “The corrupt acts of an individual law enforcement officer can erode the public’s trust in the legions of brave men and women who faithfully honor their oaths’ and place their lives on the line each day to keep our communities safe. We will vigorously investigate and prosecute any officer who betrays their sworn oath and the public’s trust.”
During his plea in federal court, Haines admitted that he became personally involved in the real property management and finances of an elderly woman in Santa Rosa County and deposited rental payments from tenants of the elderly woman into his own bank account without authority to do so. When confronted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Haines made material false statements regarding his involvement with the rental properties, the depositing of rental payments into his personal account, and his knowledge and involvement with the Last Will and Testament of the elderly woman of which he became a beneficiary.
"Police officers are given immense trust and responsibility, and are therefore held to a higher standard,” said Sherri E. Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, “so there are serious consequences when one tarnishes the badge by breaking the law. Scott Haines disgraced the uniform when he abused his authority to victimize an elderly individual for his own personal gain, and his sentencing affirms that the FBI has zero tolerance for officials who prey on the citizens they have sworn to protect.”
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office cooperated fully with the FBI/FDLE investigation and immediately relieved Haines of his duties prior to the filing of criminal charges.
Haines will be required to serve one year on federal supervised release following his incarceration. He was formally adjudicated guilty by the United States District Court and is now a felon. Haines previously relinquished his criminal justice certifications.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg prosecuted the case.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.