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Miller: I Wasn't Under Travel Restrictions

April 15, 2009 — Rodney E. Miller Sr., convicted two months ago of fraud, believed he could travel "all over the world" while out on bail and awaiting trial on another set of criminal charges.
Miller took the stand in V.I. Superior Court Wednesday to refute claims made by government attorneys that he had violated his bail conditions by moving to South Carolina and not telling the court. Under questioning from his defense attorney Charles Grant, Miller said the conditions of his release did not include any travel restrictions, which allowed him to visit his wife and kids after they moved to South Carolina, along with his mother in Texas and other relatives in Georgia.
That changed Wednesday when V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael C. Dunston said Miller's bail conditions were going to be tightened and clearly written out. During previous court hearings, the bail conditions were set orally, but never put into writing, which may have led to some "misinterpretation," the judge said after denying the government's motion to revoke Miller's release.
Miller, along with three other former Schneider Regional Medical Center officials, is set to go on trial in October on charges ranging from grand larceny to embezzlement. Looking at Miller's recent conviction and evidence presented by both sets of attorneys over the past two days, Dunston said that with the exception of the Virgin Islands, Miller would not be allowed to travel outside the country.
Miller must also give his probation officer advance notice if he's planning a trip to South Carolina, get her permission and let her know how long he'll be staying, the judge said. And, when he's away from his home in Weston, Fla., Miller has to check in with his probation officer every day until he returns, Dunston said.
Meanwhile, the judge said he was troubled by a temporary change-of-address record that U.S. Postal Service Inspector Steve Stebbins said Tuesday indicated that all of Miller's mail was being forwarded to South Carolina. In the event that the court sends Miller a notice and he doesn't receive it right away, the court will not recognize the change of address as an "excuse for any problems that develop," Dunston said Wednesday. (See "Court Looks at Whether Ex-Schneider CEO Left Florida.")
While on the stand, Miller said his wife — who handles all the mail — put in for the change of address before moving to South Carolina to live with her parents.
"She and the kids don't live with me because the court has frozen my assets, so I don't have the means to support my family," Miller said Wednesday.
Government attorney Denise George-Counts questioned why Miller's wife and children would opt to move to a "cramped" three-bedroom house in South Carolina when the couple's five-bedroom home in Florida is still being maintained. Miller said the couple is relying on other family members for support.
Meanwhile, Miller said he either drives or flies to South Carolina about twice a month to visit his family. The most recent visit was April 9 — the same day Miller said he and Grant were in Florida at Miller's house for at least five hours. Miller said he had flown back from South Carolina that morning, and after the meeting with Grant flew back out to visit his wife and kids the same night.
On Tuesday, Nicholas Peru — a special investigator in the V.I. Inspector General's office — said he had received an email from a Broward County bank official who said he visited Miller's house on April 9, and that it had appeared empty, with no cars in the driveway. Another bank official has said Miller is currently at least $18,000 behind on his mortgage payments and has not returned phone calls, Peru said, adding that any calls received from Miller have come in from a "private number."
While Grant said Wednesday that Peru's testimony should be disregarded, Miller said it's clear the bank is trying to sell his Florida home out from under him. Since the house is included on the list of Miller's frozen assets, the bank can't foreclose on the property — so the bank is trying to find another way to sell it, which includes making calls to local government attorneys about the house being vacant, Miller said.
"I clearly know what's at play here," he said.
Dunston said he will soon submit a written list of the modified bail conditions, which also orders Miller to provide his probation officer with a phone number where Miller can be reached.
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