Monday, February 8, 2016

Joe Roubicek: The Criminal "Civil Matter"

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Mark Twain

January 1991 – The house was perfect for this sting operation, unoccupied and up for sale by an owner kind enough to lend it out for a couple of days. The most important feature about this house was its plumbing, which happened to be in excellent condition. It had to be for the whole case could … Well, go down the toilet. 

A 75-year-old woman, an actress provided by chief LaGraves of the prosecutor’s office, was wearing a hidden microphone, sat patiently on a couch in the living room waiting for the doorbell to ring. Soon she would be presenting herself as a poor, frail and confused old lady, just ready for the taking.

Our technical unit had set up a video camera that spied on the exterior east wall of the house from inside a neighbor’s home. A detective was parked a half block up the road, waiting to give the signal when the suspect arrived, and three more detectives sent by the camera and the neighbor’s house. Two patrolmen cruised a couple blocks away, ready if called upon, and a special prosecutor, Mark Springer, stood by his desk for progress reports. The bait was set, everyone just waiting for the suspect to arrive.

He was considered a figurehead in a tunneling fraud operation that had burned victims for tens of thousands of dollars each. His real tools weren’t a shovel or backhoe – they were deception and extortion. Michael Angove, or “Mike The Plumber,” was known to dig a mountain of dirt for a mountain of cash that he demanded from elderly homeowners, using their limited mobility and dependency on others against them.

Dorothy Darling, an 80-year-old disabled woman, was one of those victims. She called for a plumber because her toilet made a constant leaking noise. She didn’t know that the plumbing was actually in good condition. A “leaking flapper,” the small rubber piece that keeps the water in the tank, could have been easily fixed with a $10 repair kit.

After Angove of A Aachen Plumbing in Fort Lauderdale checked it out though,he left Dorothy’s bathroom and went to his truck to begin a very different type of repair. He grabbed a shovel and dug a one-foot-deep hole by the side of the woman’s house, filling the hole with water from the garden hose.

Full Article and Source:
Joe's Cases: The Criminal "Civil Matter"


StandUp said...

This is the big obstacle with guardianship. If certain acts are done outside of guardianship, they're a crime. But if a guardianship is involved, the crime is a civil matter. Makes no sense.

Olive said...

I wish there were enough undercover operations to do what was done here. Just think of all the crooks who would be caught and taken off the streets.

Anonymous said...

So many people get scammed by contractors including roofers, carpenters, and landscaping. I'm glad to see this sting work!

Betty said...

Thank you Joe, for this and all you do!