A Small Measure of Justice

On Monday, November 21st, Scott Haines was sentenced in federal court. He took a plea and pled guilty to lying to FBI in an elder exploitation investigation. This is the DOJ press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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.

Attachment(s): 

Download press_release_-_haines.pdf

Topic(s): 

Elder Justice

Financial Fraud

Component(s): 

USAO – Florida, Northern

Contact: 

United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Florida (850) 216-3845 libby.lastinger@usdoj.gov Follow us on Twitter | @NDFLnews

Updated November 22, 2022

Now I want to draw your attention to this part:

“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.

Then this part:

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.

This is last part is probably the most indefensible position asserted in this press release. This entire case undermines public trust and I’ll tell you why. In 2017, I got an email from Matt Groelinger, who is Dorothy Rogers’s grandson and was entrusted with overseeing their family trust. I asked him to call me to hear his story. He was apprehensive to say the least. I didn’t even know his name. He was scared to tell me what was happening to him. I must say if you knew who Matt was, you’d know that his physical appearance, his size, is intimidating to most people, but he was scared the first time I talked to him. As he told me about Scott and the whole situation with his grandmother, I knew I needed to have a second set of ears hear this story. I contacted Philip Nix, a close friend, who I have worked with on the Billings Case. He was someone who knew the magnitude of what Matt was saying. I added Phil to the call. As unsure as he was about Matt’s story, he remained opened minded.

Over the next few days, Phil and I poured over documents that Matt had. He had meticulously kept every document, proving his account of what was happening. His fear on the phone was well founded. Scott told Matt’s grandmother, he would have him arrested for the drug issues he had, which was a lie. He also told her that sometimes drug users, like Matt, would just die in custody. This is the basis of his fear. You had a cop threatening to create a crime to get a arrest and he did it. There was some very sketchy events in this arrest playing out that convinced Matt that he had a target on his back. There is contradictory documentation by the SRSO and varied testimonies of other deputies that show the plausibility of this threat by Haines. Timelines that don’t flow; people omitted from CAD reports; the whereabouts of deputies that were not accurate; fictitious accounts of conversations that unfold when lies can’t be remembered. It was very squirrely and would be suspect even if it was by the book as they claim.

It took months for Matt not be afraid. He believed, rightfully so, that he could be killed and it could look righteous. Think about that. A brotherhood of people invested in removing you from your family and possibly this world. Scott Haines getting a year and one day with 5 years probation and then being allowed to keep the properties he essentially stole, that are priceless to the county, which allows him to be a wealthy man in 2024 if not sooner.

What about the hard drives taken into custody? The search warrant executed on May 13, 2021. There were cameras in Dorothy’s home. Scott monitored her constantly. Is that ok?

Just think about the fact no one in the SRSO, FDLE or the FBI, apparently, prosecuted this stuff. Why? Elder exploitation is still ongoing in this case because Bob Johnson, who miraculously doubled his assets without any additional income, is still in office after failing to uphold Florida Law.

3 thoughts on “A Small Measure of Justice

  1. It’s not a long enough sentence. He’s a terrible person—aside from elder abuse fraud and everything else he’s being punished for he used police resources to spy on folks and run background checks on former tenants. But of course that isn’t mentioned anywhere in the news…Where’s the justice in that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my issue. There are boxes of evidence of crimes that not fully appreciated Couldn’t stalking or illegal video surveillance be an entirely different crime. The cash never turned over for rent. There should several crimes within that. Fraud against the tenets The list goes on and on. Then you have his brother illegally participating in ncic lookup on his brother at midnight That’s a crime.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.