Press "Enter" to skip to content

Fraud by former Pilot Mountain police chiefs 'likely expanded beyond the scope of their investigation,' PIO says

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WGHP) — Pilot Mountain officials have finished the investigation into the town’s police department and allegations of corruption.

Officials announced Wednesday that they had concluded the internal investigation into allegations of fraud committed by employees of the Pilot Mountain Police Department. The North Carolina SBI criminal investigation is ongoing.

“Our investigative team found overwhelming evidence that these allegations were not only based in truth but likely expanded beyond the scope of their investigation,” Pilot Mountain Acting Public Information Officer Ian Redman said.

More

Piedmont Triad News


Read more Piedmont Triad news on MyFOX8.com

Allegations

Redman said the internal investigation, spurred by an anonymous tip from an officer with the Pilot Mountain Police Department and conducted by Richardson and Davis Investigative Consulting Group, found evidence that former Pilot Mountain Police Chief Darryl Bottoms and his successor, former Police Chief Robbie Jackson, scheduled officers to work on-duty assignments with the town while simultaneously working off-duty assignments at car shows.

Bottoms and Jackson would report to event organizers that certain members of the police department would work events off-duty and instruct different officers to work in their place. Both chiefs would collect checks to be cashed and paid to the officers who did work and themselves. Both chiefs also, allegedly, used misleading scheduling practices for these car shows to avoid reporting off-duty income to the IRS.

Additionally, Redman says Jackson used his position to help others buy firearms. He falsely signed a statement with the U.S. Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agency saying that the firearms would be used exclusively by the Pilot Mountain police department, but the firearms were not intended for departmental use.

The investigation found 22 incidences of officers “double dipping,” or being paid for work done simultaneously for both the town and the events, from May 2018 through July 2022. The investigation covered only the last five years, but Redman said the fraud began in 2011.

In total, eight officers, both full- and part-time current and former officers, benefited from the double-dipping. The town has terminated Sgt. Jason Chrismon and Officer Ryan Blizzard effective Monday, Dec. 11, for violating the town’s code of conduct and benefitting from the schemes reportedly orchestrated by Jackson and Bottom.

Redman says, as of Wednesday, all currently employed officers with the police department were not involved.

Response

“I am disappointed and appalled by what our investigation has uncovered,” Town Manager Michael Boaz said. “Like the rest of the community, it trusted Mr. Jackson as chief of police to act properly and lawfully. This investigation has revealed that that trust was grossly misplaced.”

Mayor Evan Cockerham added, “Our community is peaceful and close-knit. While we know most of our neighbors and wave hello while walking down the street, it is hard to imagine such misconduct happening in the town of Pilot Mountain.

“While this news is shocking, I believe that we have an opportunity to build an even stronger police department where every officer upholds their oath and represents who we are as Pilot Mountain, where every officer acts honorably and in the best interests of our community. A few officers have failed this standard, but I know our remaining officers will work diligently to restore trust.”

Background

Officials say that initial investigations revealed a “years-long” pattern of misconduct that started at the top with Police Chief Robbie Jackson and trickled down to other officers since at least 2019, who they say schemed to defraud nonprofit organizations who paid the police department for security at events held in Pilot Mountain.

On Nov. 14, Jackson resigned from the police department after being placed on leave during the early days of the investigation. Part-time officer and former Pilot Mountain Police Chief Darryl Bottoms was also removed from the department. Officers Jason Chrismon and Ryan Blizzard were also put on administrative leave with pay.

Adrian Tillotson, a detective with the police department, has been serving as interim chief “during this transitional period” with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office providing supplementary law enforcement.

According to the Town of Pilot Mountain, their police department has 10 full-time officers, and a number of part-time officers. A budget from 2022-2023 on the town’s website shows an estimated revenue of around $3.5 million for the town, and under the section “general fund expenditures” it lists “public safety” as having a cost of $939,310, representing 42% of the general fund expenditures for that year, and 26% of the towns overall estimated revenue. This is a slight decrease from public safety spending in 2022, according to an audit released by the town.


Source: Fox 8 News Channel

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply