TBI

Three charged with election law violations in Bluff City

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

JOHNSON CITY – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in three Bluff City residents being charged with violating an election law.

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TBI investigating alleged voting violations in Bluff City elections

The TBI is investigating alleged voting law violations in the May 16 Bluff City municipal election for mayor and seats on the Board of Aldermen, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus requested the TBI investigation after receiving information on possible election irregularities during the May election.

…”On June 19, I requested the TBI to conduct an investigation into the allegations,” Staubus said. “When the investigation is complete, I will review it and determine what action needs to be taken.”

Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said his office referred the matter to Staubus.

“It is the policy of the Sullivan County Election Commission to refer all perceived or alleged allegations of criminal behavior related to an election to the district attorney,” Booher said. “The integrity of elections are held to the highest standard in Sullivan County. I am not at liberty to comment on any matter that has been referred to the district attorney.”

TBI Spokeswoman Leslie Earhart confirmed the investigation and said no further comment would be issued because the investigation is active and ongoing.

Note: In the election, Mayor Irene Wells won another term with 138 votes to 130 for Carolyn Harris Payne and 35 for Cathryn Michelle Woomer, according to the county election commission website. Incumbent Aldermen Ray Harrington and Richard Bowling also won new terms.

TBI reports: School crime declined, domestic violence slightly increased last year

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released two studies today, detailing the volume and nature of crime on school campuses and crimes identified as being domestic violence in nature. The annual studies compile crime data submitted to TBI by the state’s law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).

Among the findings of “Domestic Violence 2016”:

·         A total of 78,100 domestic violence offenses were reported in 2016, representing a 0.4% increase over 2015.

·         Simple Assault accounted for 66.7% of all reported domestic violence offenses.

·         Females were three times as likely to be victimized as males, and accounted for 71.5% of reported victims.

·         Juveniles accounted for approximately 9.6% of reported domestic violence victims

Among the findings of “School Crime 2014-2016”:

·         Overall, the number of offenses reported as having occurred in school decreased 8.8% from 2014 to 2016.

·         Simple Assault was the most frequently reported offense.

·         The largest percentage of reported offenses occurred between 12:00 p.m. and 2:59 p.m.

·         The month of September had the highest frequency of reported school crimes.

As with all of its crime publications, the TBI cautions against using the data provided in these reports to compare one jurisdiction to another. The factors impacting crime vary from community to community and accordingly, comparisons are considered neither fair nor accurate.

Both reports are currently available for review on the TBI’s website: www.tn.gov/tbi.

Police officer charged with patronizing prostitutes while on duty

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

MEMPHIS – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the indictment of a Ripley police officer on charges of official misconduct and patronizing prostitution.

At the request of 25th District Attorney General Mike Dunavant, on March 27th, TBI Special Agents began investigating Donald Bonds, who is a lieutenant with the Ripley Police Department, on allegations of sexual misconduct. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that on two different occasions in January and February 2017, Bonds paid to have sex while on duty and inside his police vehicle.

On June 5th, the Lauderdale County Grand Jury returned indictments, charging Donald Orvell Bonds (DOB 03/01/1968) with four counts of Official Misconduct and two counts of Patronizing Prostitution. Bonds was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Lauderdale County Justice Complex. He was released after posting a $10,000 bond. Bonds is currently suspended without pay.

West TN alderman indicted for voter fraud

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

MEMPHIS – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the indictment of a Moscow City Alderman on charges of violating election laws. 

At the request of 25th District Attorney General Mike Dunavant, on November 1, 2016, TBI Special Agents began investigating Virgil Jones on complaints of election law fraud. Jones is an Alderman for the city of Moscow, in Fayette County. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that while Jones does own property in Moscow, his actual residence is in Whiteville, in Hardeman County, and he listed the fraudulent address on elections records for the purpose of running for the Alderman position. Additionally, a review of election records indicates that while Jones has lived in Whiteville, he has been a registered voter in Moscow and has voted there for numerous elections.

On Monday, the Fayette County Grand Jury returned indictments charging  Virgil Jones (DOB 8/11/1964) with one count of False Entry on Official Registration or Election Document, one count of Perjury and False Statement on Official Election Documents, and five counts of Voter Fraud. Jones turned himself in to TBI Special Agents on Tuesday and was booked into the Fayette County Jail. His bond was set at $10,000.

TBI ‘Crime on Campus’ report for 2016: Rape down, other assaults up

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released to the public its annual crime study detailing the volume and nature of crime on the state’s college and university campuses. ‘Crime on Campus’ compiles data submitted to TBI by the state’s colleges, universities, and law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).

Among the report’s findings:

·         Overall, crime reported by Tennessee’s colleges and universities increased slightly, by 0.8% from 2015 to 2016.

·         In total, 27% of all 2016 offenses reported were categorized as Larceny/Theft.

·         Fraud Offenses increased by 8% in 2016, with a substantial increase in the category of Impersonation, with a 177% increase from 13 in 2015 to 36 in 2016.

·         Assault Offenses increased by 21% year-to-year.

·         There was a 27% decrease in reported Rape offenses, from 62 in 2015 to 45 in 2016.

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Deputy sheriff charged with stealing tobacco

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a former Macon County deputy who is charged with stealing tobacco.

At the request of 15th District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, on January 23rd, TBI Special Agents began investigating a theft complaint against then-Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Troy Griggs. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that on January 17th, Griggs transported four bales of tobacco to a warehouse in Hartsville, to be sold as his own. The following day, the rightful owner of the tobacco reported to the warehouse that the product was his. The investigation revealed that the tobacco, with a value of approximately $5,300, had been stolen by Griggs on January 16th.  Griggs is no longer employed by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday, the Macon County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Griggs (DOB 11/30/1973) with one count of Theft over $2,500. Griggs turned himself in to Agents Friday night. He was booked into the Macon County Jail and was released after posting a $2,500 bond.

Memphis transit CEO among 42 caught in TBI prostitution sting

Ron Garrison, chief executive officer with Memphis Area Transit Authority, was among 42 people arrested in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation sting to crack down on what authorities characterized as human trafficking in Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Garrison, arrested Wednesday, faces a misdemeanor charge of patronizing prostitution near a church or school. He resigned from his office on Thursday and TBI officials had a news conference to announce the arrests on Friday.

His offense reportedly involved an adult and not a juvenile.

The former MATA leader’s arrest and the link to his resignation — termed for health issues — emerged just before a Friday morning news conference where the TBI and local authorities announced the results of the sting operation called “Operation Someone Like Me.” More than 40 people, including Garrison, were charged in connection with law enforcement effort aimed at curbing human trafficking, officials said.

Officials with MATA confirmed Friday morning that Garrison was arrested for prostitution-related charges. The MATA board accepted his resignation following a closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon. Gary Rosenfeld, MATA’s chief administrative officer, was named interim CEO during the search for Garrison’s replacement, MATA board chairman Sean Healy said.

“As it relates to today’s announcement from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation regarding former MATA CEO Ron Garrison, this in no way diminishes the contributions of Mr. Garrison at MATA during his tenure over the last few years,” the authority said in a statement Friday morning. “MATA and its Board of Commissioners wishes him well in his future endeavors. But, our top priority as an organization is to remain committed to the number one task at hand and that is diligently serving the Memphis public and our customers by identifying dedicated funding sources and ensuring that public transit is a reliable option for the Memphis area. While the leadership may have changed at MATA, our commitment to our mission has not.”

Note: TBI’s news release on the bust, including a list of all those arrested, is below.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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