U.S. Attorney announces federal indictments; Winston Co. man cha - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Attorney announces federal indictments; Winston Co. man charged with arson at poultry co. office

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Charles William Heavner Jr. Charles William Heavner Jr.
U.S. Attorney Joyce White announced several federal indictments handed down Thursday to five different suspects involved in crimes across Alabama.

The separate indictments involved criminal investigations into arson, child pornography, ATM theft, use of U.S. Postal Service to send threatening letters and the filing of false tax returns in a multi-million dollar tax scheme.

Read all of the announced indictments below.

Winston County man charged with arson at poultry company office

TUSCALOOSA -- A Northwest Alabama man pleaded guilty Wednesday to arson for a December fire at a Marshall Durbin office building in Haleyville, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Fulton.
 
CHARLES WILLIAM HEAVNER JR., 43, of Hackleburg, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler to one count of maliciously damaging the Marshall Durbin Field Operations Office with fire on Dec. 4. Heavner is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 14.
 
He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
 
According to Heavner's plea agreement with the government, the arson unfolded as follows:
 
Marshal Durban had not provided baby chicks for Heavner to raise because of maintenance problems with the chicken housing facilities on his farm. Heavner was angry about that decision on the morning of Dec. 4 and had threatened physical violence against the company's broiler manager, Joe Bolding. Bolding called an employee at the operations office, warned her of Heavner's threats and told her to lock the office door. As she did so, she saw Heavner pull into the parking lot, take an orange five-gallon bucket and a walking cane from his truck and approach the building with liquid sloshing out of the bucket. She told him he couldn't come in, but after she locked the door he tried to kick it in.
 
Employees outside the office building were called to help and arrived to find the front of the building on fire. They used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The orange bucket was recovered in the back of a company truck parked near the building and Heavner's cane and a cigarette lighter were found beside the building. Traces of gasoline were discovered in the bucket.
 
Heavner fled and was later arrested in Oklahoma.
 
The ATF, Alabama State Fire Marshal, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Winston County Sheriff's Office investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael W. Whisonant Sr. is prosecuting the case.

Talladega County man indicted for sending second series of threat letters

BIRMINGHAM -- A Talladega County man serving more than four years in federal prison for mailing a series of hoax anthrax letters in 2010 has been indicted for mailing another series of threatening letters in 2011, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Postal Inspector R. Frank Dyer.
 
A federal grand jury today indicted CLIFTON LAMAR DODD, 41, of Lincoln, on seven counts of using the U.S. Postal Service to send threatening letters. Count one of the indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Dodd with mailing a hoax anthrax letter to then Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Teresa McClendon on April 4, 2011. Counts two through six charge Dodd with mailing, or causing the mailing of extortion letters on June 15, 2011, that threatened the lives of U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tommy Nail, lawyers James O'Kelly and Sheila Weil, and Jefferson County Jail inmate Michael Bole. The final count of the indictment charges Dodd with causing an extortion letter to be sent and delivered to former Alabama Sen. Jim Preuitt of Talladega on Sept. 28, 2011.
 
The June 2011 extortion letters were mailed from Calhoun County, according to the indictment. Dodd was in custody in the Calhoun County Jail at that time, awaiting trial on the federal charges that he sent 23 anthrax hoax letters in 2010. He pleaded guilty to those charges just before trial was to begin in July 2011. Dodd remained in jail awaiting sentencing when, according to the indictment, the September 2011 extortion letter was delivered to Preuitt in Talladega County.
 
According to today's indictment, the June 2011 letters claimed to be from someone who had been hired to kill the recipients. The letters to judges Coogler and Nail demanded $5,000 from each. The letter to the jail inmate, Bole, stated it was from "your friend from jail," and expressed a promise to kill the people who had done them wrong and said to "be sure the money is their (sic)." The letter specifically mentioned O'Kelly and Judges Coogler and Nail, according to the indictment.
 
The September 2011 letter to Preuitt stated, "I didn't forget about you. I want my money. All of my money … Get my money or die," according to the indictment.
 
Preuitt was among the recipients of the 23 anthrax hoax letters Dodd was convicted of mailing in 2010. In December 2011, U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon sentenced Dodd to 51 months in prison for mailing the hoax threats.
 
Along with Preuitt, Dodd mailed those letters to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby at his office in the Robert S. Vance Federal in Birmingham, to two Talladega County state court judges, Talladega County Sheriff Jerry Studdard, several Talladega County Jail inmates who were in the jail at the same time as Dodd, and police investigators from both the Lincoln and Oxford police departments who previously had interviewed Dodd.
 
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the current case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant Sr. is prosecuting.

Birmingham man indicted for multi-million dollar tax scheme

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal grand jury today indicted a Birmingham man in connection with a scheme to collect millions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service on false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot.
 
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges DOUGLAS ERVIN DENT, 66, with filing 20 false income tax returns in his own name and on behalf of others between April 2008 and October 2009. Dent knew that he and the other taxpayers were not entitled to the $6.2 million in refunds he claimed, according to the indictment. Each false tax return contained a claim that money had been earned by the taxpayer and withheld by various financial institutions on behalf of the taxpayer during the tax year and that the taxpayer was entitled to refund of those withholdings from the IRS when, in truth, no such earnings and withholdings had occurred, the indictment states.
 
Among the 20 false returns, Dent filed four in his name and one in the name of his deceased mother.  The requested refunds on these five returns totaled more than $2.6 million, according to the indictment.
 
"The false and outrageous tax refunds cited in this case are both a crime and an affront to the millions of hard-working Americans who pay their justly owed taxes each year," Vance said. "Criminals who scheme to avoid paying taxes or to steal money from the U.S. Treasury will be prosecuted," she said.
 
"Return preparers who concoct schemes to steal public money face federal prosecution and time in prison," Hyman-Pillot said. "Individuals cannot fraudulently enrich their bank accounts at the expense of the United States Treasury and other taxpayers."
 
If convicted, Dent could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the 20 counts of making false claims against the government.

Fultondale woman indicted for stealing $47,000 from ATM's

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal grand jury today indicted a former ATM service technician for stealing $47,000 from ATMs around the Birmingham metropolitan area, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Secret Service Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Anderson.
 
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges KELLY FUCHS, 26, with eight counts of bank larceny for stealing from various automated teller machines between July 2012 and February 2013. Fuchs was employed with Loomis armored-car service as an ATM service technician during that time.
 
"When people are hired into positions of trust and abuse that position to steal from our financial institutions, it undermines our country's financial system," Vance said. "Criminals who do this can expect to be punished with the full force of the law."
 
According to the indictment, Fuchs stole eight times from ATMs at seven locations over about seven months. The ATM locations and the amount stolen were: Children's of Alabama, $6,000; Children's of Alabama, $5,000; Montclair Road, Birmingham, $10,000; Medical Center East, $4,000; Culver Road, Mountain Brook, $10,000; Odum Road, Gardendale, $6,000; Martin Street, Pell City, $2,000; and Ashville Road, Leeds, $4,000.
 
The maximum sentence for bank larceny is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
 
The U.S. Secret Service and the Birmingham Police Department investigated this case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Davis A. Barlow is prosecuting.

Tuscaloosa Co. man indicted for producing, possessing child pornography

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal grand jury today indicted a Tuscaloosa County man on child pornography charges, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr. and Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Billy Sharp.
 
A five-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges MURRY MALONE BAILEY, 63, with producing child pornography between November 2010 and April 2012, and with possessing child pornography in Tuscaloosa County between August 2010 and May 2012.
 
The maximum penalty for producing child pornography is 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possessing child pornography is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
 
The Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Department and the FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Wick is prosecuting.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Source:  Office of United States Attorney Joyce White Vance
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