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HomeNewsArchivesHatchett is Main Culprit in Police Union Embezzlement, Say Court Documents

Hatchett is Main Culprit in Police Union Embezzlement, Say Court Documents

V.I. Police Sgt. Lesley Hatchett allegedly wrote all the checks that led to charges of obtaining money by false pretenses, embezzlement by fiduciary and conspiracy against two V.I. police sergeants and a third person, court documents say.

Hatchett, 48, of Estate Work and Rest; Sgt. Freddy Ortiz Jr., 43, of Constitution Hill; and Hatchett’s daughter, Elisa Carmona, 26, a resident of Sion Farm, were arrested March 7, advised of their rights in Superior Court and released on their own recognizance.

The three have been arrested and charged for allegedly embezzling money from the Law Enforcement Supervisors Union. Ortiz was president of LESU from April 2010 through March 2012.

All three face up to 10 years in prison on charges of obtaining money under false pretenses and five years for conspiracy. Because of their roles as union officials, Hatchett and Ortiz face a charge of embezzlement by fiduciary, which carries a penalty of 10 years in prison. As the check writer, Hatchett alone faces a charge of forgery, with a potential for 10 more years in prison.

Police became involved after newly elected LESU President Anthony Hector looked at the union’s bank statements in March of 2012 and found money missing without explanation.

According to an affidavit from James McCall, director of Special Investigations at the V.I. Department of Justice, Hector found the LESU bank account contained $5,847. He spoke to Ortiz’s predecessor, Robert Mathews, who said the account had closer to $19,000 when he left office. Hector found the Jan. 31, 2010, bank statement, which showed the LESU had $23,104.43 at that time.

Looking over the books, Hector found a series of unauthorized payments, signed by Hatchett, totaling $17,124.07.

In April of 2012, LESU held an emergency board meeting where Hector showed a $1,000 check signed by Hatchett to Linda’s Cruise and Travel and several others paid to "cash" and to Hatchett’s daughter.

Later that month, Hatchett sent Hector a text, confessing, apologizing for taking the money and asking to pay it back.

Hatchett wrote checks in 2009, with then-LESU President Robert Mathews’ name as a second signatory. Mathews told police it is not his signature. The other checks bear her signature only, according to the affidavit.

None of the checks were written to, cashed by or written by Ortiz, but prosecutors allege Ortiz was aware of Hatchett’s activities and benefitted on at least one occasion. On March 8, 2012, Hatchett wrote a $1,364.32 LESU check to a travel agency, without LESU approval, for airline tickets to Las Vegas in April for herself and Ortiz, who is Hatchett’s boyfriend.

According to the affidavit, Ortiz said Hatchett was supposed to purchase tickets and Ortiz would pay for the hotel room. Ortiz said it was their vacation and he was not aware she was using LESU funds to pay the airfare.

But Ortiz’s claim to have no knowledge came under scrutiny after LESU treasurer Cecil Gumbs told McCall he never became a signatory on the LESU account and never received bank statements, "despite numerous requests to Freddy Ortiz." The LESU bylaws say the treasurer handles all financial transactions.

Gumbs also said Ortiz "frequently contacted him requesting that Gumbs provide blank checks to Lesley Hatchett, to which he declined."

According to the affidavit, Gumbs told Hatchett that since she was fulfilling the responsibilities of treasurer, he would give her the checkbook and he would resign.

On April 10, 2012, Hector contacted V.I. Police Sergeant Mark Corneiro saying someone had spent the money and an investigation began, culminating in last week’s arrests.

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