Oct. 5, 2005 — Wild cheers filled the courtroom Wednesday afternoon as the jury announced they had found former Sen. Carlton Dowe innocent of charges he defrauding the government of some $75,000. The one man and 11 women of the jury found Carlton Dowe, 48, innocent on the two counts of wire fraud brought against him in August 2004.
"From day one, I maintained my innocence. From day one I said I'd have my day in court and today was that day," Dowe told reporters.
The court clerk urged teary-eyed friends and family sitting behind Dowe to remain quiet until Judge Raymond Finch officially ended the eight-day trial. The 20 or so people then rushed to hug Dowe.
Prosecutors said Dowe, who narrowly lost re-election for a third term in the Senate last year, had double-billed the V.I. government for a retroactive pay raise from when he worked for the Fire Services.
Dowe settled a suit against the government in 1999 in which he sought a pay raise given to fire executives who had earned college degrees in their field. He collected the $50,000 settlement in 2001.
That same year, Dowe sought more money from the pay raises from the fire department and was eventually paid some $103,000 — more than $75,000 of which prosecutors claimed Dowe was not entitled to.
Testifying in district court Friday, Dowe said he had never waived his right to collect the 20 percent raise when given another pay raise retroactive to 1991.
"There is no document I signed saying I waive any future pay raise," Dowe said. "I had a legal entitlement."
Prosecutors said Dowe was trying to justify fraud and used his position as a senator to influence others to help him.
In his closing arguments, Dowe attorney Treston Moore said, whether Dowe was right or wrong in collecting the back pay, his honest opinion did not constitute fraud.
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