Witness Intimidation Leads to Lengthy Prison Term

Child Pornography, Drug, and Weapons Offenses also resolved

A Superior Court jury convicted a 37-year-old Laurel man of Home Invasion, two counts of Assault 3rd Degree, Theft Less Than $1500, Criminal Mischief Less Than $1500, six counts of Breach of Release, two counts of Act of Intimidation, and Conspiracy 2nd Degree. In February 2017, Seaford officers were dispatched to a domestic violence situation where they witnessed Anthony Morris physically assaulting a woman in a motel parking lot. Officers learned that Morris had also damaged her vehicle and stolen cash and a debit card from her. After being released on bond with a no-contact order in place, Morris forced his way into the woman’s home and attacked her again. Morris was charged with additional offenses while his case was pending because he continued to violate his no-contact orders with the victim in an attempt to persuade her not to go forward with the charges against him. Morris was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison followed by 1 year of work release, and 2 years of probation. Deputy Attorney General Casey L. Ewart prosecuted the case and was assisted by social worker Carla Ennals, paralegal Veronica McKain, and administrative specialist Angelique Waters.

A Wilmington man who was on probation received significant prison time for second offense child pornography charges. A New Castle County Superior Court judge sentenced 33-year-old Lyle Jervey to 15 years in prison followed by 5 years and 6 months of probation for five counts of Dealing in Child Pornography. In May 2017, a tip led Probation and Parole Officers to Jervey’s residence where they found him in possession of a smartphone with internet access in violation of his probation conditions. A forensic examination revealed that he used the phone for viewing child pornography. This was Jervey’s second conviction for child pornography in the last ten years. He was ordered to register as a Tier III sex offender. The case was investigated by Detective Paul Simonds of the Wilmington Police Department with assistance by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force.

A 40-year-old Harrington man who was charged with Drug and Weapons offenses, pled guilty to Conspiracy 2nd Degree and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. A search warrant was executed at a home in the 100 block of Woodville Drive in Magnolia where Delaware State Police found multiple suspects along with heroin, cocaine, marijuana, weapons, and drug paraphernalia. Allen Simms, one of the defendants found at the scene of the search warrant execution, was sentenced to a total of 5 years in prison by a Kent County Superior Court judge. Deputy Attorney General Greg Babowal prosecuted this case.

The Delaware Child Predator Task Force secured a prison sentence for a Smyrna man for child pornography in Kent County Superior Court. The investigation revealed Lincoln Huntoon, 35, was in possession of child pornography on multiple electronic devices. Huntoon was sentenced by a Superior Court judge to 4 years in prison followed by 3 years of probation for two counts of Dealing in Child Pornography and two counts of Possession of Child Pornography. In addition, Huntoon was ordered to register as a Tier II sex offender.

DOJ and Delaware Police Chiefs Publish Model Policies For Custodial Interrogations and Eyewitness Identifications

Goal To Improve Accuracy and Fairness in the Criminal Justice System

The Delaware Department of Justice and the Delaware Police Chiefs Council have developed and published model policies for custodial interrogation and eyewitness identification procedures that can be adopted by police agencies statewide, part of an effort to ensure fairness and accuracy in the criminal justice system.

“The eyewitness identification of suspects and the methods used to interrogate suspects in custody are two areas where research has indicated that research based, standardized practices are important to getting accurate results in the criminal justice system,” Attorney General Matt Denn said. “Working with the Delaware Police Chiefs Council to determine the best practices from the around the country, we have developed and recommend these become uniform practices among Delaware law enforcement agencies.”

“We in law enforcement need to do everything possible to ensure we are arresting the person responsible for committing the crime. These two model policies help ensure that is in fact what we are doing. I encourage all Delaware law enforcement agencies to adopt these best practices immediately, if they have not already done so,” Camden Police Department Chief and chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council William Bryson said.

The model policies were distributed to police agencies earlier this year and have been available on the DOJ website at https://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/law-enforcement/.

Attorney General Denn said that the policies’ public availability should encourage local police agencies to implement them.

Important components of the state’s model custodial interrogation policy include:

  • A requirement that all custodial interviews be recorded.
  • A requirement that both the questioner and the suspect be videotaped, if the department has sufficient equipment to allow for this occur.
  • A requirement that recording begin as soon as a suspect enters the interview room, and continue uninterrupted until the interrogation is complete.
  • These requirements are subject to certain specific exceptions, such as a suspect’s request that an interview not be recorded.

Important components of the state’s model eyewitness identification model policy include:

  • Discouraging the use of “show up” or “field” identifications of suspects by eyewitnesses and instead encourages the use of photographic or formal in-person line-ups.
  • Strict guidelines for situations when a show-up identification must be used, such as a requirement that the suspect not be shown to the eyewitness in any type of restraints.
  • A requirement that photo array identifications be overseen whenever possible by a person who does not know the actual identity of the suspect, and when that is not possible, that the witness be given individual folders with single photos to review and that the witness review them in a fashion that the law enforcement officer cannot see the pictures.
  • A requirement that photo array identifications be videotaped whenever possible, and that an explanation be provided for any that are not videotaped.
  • A requirement that the witness indicate the level of certainty he or she has with respect to the identification being made.

State Attorneys General and State Mortgage Regulators Reach Settlement with PHH Mortgage Corporation Over Loan Issues

The Delaware Department of Justice, 48 other state attorneys general, the District of Columbia and over 45 state mortgage regulators have reached a settlement with New Jersey-based mortgage lender and servicer PHH Mortgage Corporation over improper loan servicing. Approximately 123 Delawareans are eligible for a payment as a result of the settlement.

The settlement resolves allegations that PHH, the nation’s ninth largest non-bank residential mortgage servicer, improperly serviced mortgage loans from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012, including failing to properly apply or amortize payments, charging authorized fees for defaults, failing to maintain complete loan files, robosigning affidavits used in foreclosures, referring matters to foreclosure improperly, losing or failing to timely process loss mitigation applications and paperwork, and other actions. The agreement requires PHH to adhere to comprehensive mortgage servicing standards, to conduct audits, and to provide audit results to a committee of states. The settlement does not release PHH from liability for conduct that occurred beginning in 2013.

“The settlement holds PHH accountable for harms homeowners suffered from improper loan servicing and shows our continued dedication to this area,” Attorney General Matt Denn said. “The agreement requires new servicing standards to help ensure that PHH doesn’t repeat conduct that led to improper mortgage servicing, and to provide financial relief to aggrieved homeowners.”

Borrowers who were subjected to PHH foreclosures during the eligible period will qualify for a minimum $840 payment, and borrowers who faced foreclosures that PHH initiated during the eligible period, but did not lose their home, will receive a minimum $285 payment. A settlement administrator will contact eligible payment recipients, including those in Delaware, at a later date.

The settlement includes $31.4 million in payments to borrowers, plus administrative penalties paid to state mortgage regulators (Delaware’s $159,000 went to the state General Fund), and additional payments to the 12 state attorneys general who led the investigation and negotiations.

Deputy Attorney General Gillian Andrews handled the matter on behalf of the Delaware DOJ Consumer Protection Unit.

Gang Shootings, Drug Network, Murder Lead To Prison Sentences

Rape of child, home invasion punished with prison terms

Also: Home improvement contractor pleads guilty to multiple fraud charges

A Wilmington teenager received a 12-year in prison sentence for several shootings tied to gang activity. Elijah Crawford, 17, was sentenced by a Superior Court judge for his September guilty plea on two counts of Assault First Degree, two counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, one count of Possession of a Handgun by a Prohibited Juvenile, and one count of Gang Participation. Crawford, a member of the Shoot to Kill (STK) gang in Wilmington, was accused of shooting 5 people, including 4 other juveniles, in a gang dispute with the Only My Brothers (OMB) Gang in the summer of 2016. Crawford was sentenced to 12 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 3 years of probation. The judge also imposed 55 years of back time on Crawford if he violates probation after his prison sentence. Deputy Attorney General Mark Denney prosecuted the case, with the assistance of Detective Devon Jones of the Wilmington Police Department.

Deputy Attorneys General Rebecca Anderson and Michael Tipton secured a guilty plea and prison sentence for the leader of a criminal organization operating in Kent and Sussex counties. A multi-jurisdictional effort dubbed Operation “Duck Hunt” targeted DeAngelo McGlotten, 32, of Millsboro as the man leading a group of friends engaged in large-scale heroin distribution and money laundering. In January 2016, search warrants on McGlotten’s home in Bridgeville and on a vehicle linked to him led to the seizure of 42,250 bags of heroin $7740 cash, a stolen 9 mm handgun, and a Marlin 30-30 rifle. The investigation into McGlotten and his organization continued with officials conducting a wiretap on phone lines belonging to McGlotten and several of his associates. As a result of the wiretaps, additional search warrants netted over $170,000 and more than a kilogram of heroin in May 2016. Additionally, numerous firearms, vehicles, and properties were seized in connection to the organization. McGlotten pled guilty to Racketeering, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, and Drug Dealing Tier II Heroin. A Superior Court judge immediately sentenced McGlotten, barred from having a gun because of prior felony convictions on drug and weapons charges, to 12 years in prison and then 18 months of probation.

A New Castle man faces at least 17 years in prison for his guilty plea to Murder Second Degree and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony charges. Deputy Attorneys General Brian Robertson and Dominic Carrera, 54, secured the plea from Gregory Parker. In January 2016, Parker bludgeoned 47-year-old Shawn Spence to death inside the home that Parker formerly shared with his ex-girlfriend in the 900 block of Eider Court near New Castle. When sentenced by a judge in February, Parker faces 17 years to life in prison. New Castle County Police Department Detective Steven Burse spearheaded the investigation, and DOJ victim/witness specialist Crystal Pitts and Homicide Unit paralegal Jamie Prater assisted in the prosecution.

Deputy Attorney General Jenna Milecki secured a prison sentence for a 34-year-old New Castle man for raping a child. In summer 2016, Gemiyale Adkins sexually assaulted a young child. In September 2017, Adkins pled guilty to one count of Rape Second Degree and one count of Rape Fourth Degree in Superior Court. A judge sentenced Adkins to 25 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 10 years of probation. Adkins must also register as a Tier 3 sex offender. DOJ social worker Claudia Melton assisted with the case.

Deputy Attorney General Phillip Casale secured a prison sentence for Kysheem Byrd, 25, of Chester, PA in connection with a home invasion. In June 2016, Byrd and another man, armed with guns, broke into a home in the 2100 block of London Way in Newark. In September 2017, Byrd pled guilty to charges of Home Invasion, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Conspiracy Second Degree. A Superior Court judge sentenced Byrd to 9 years in prison followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then one year of probation. DOJ social worker Kristen Fluharty-Emory assisted on the case.

A 50-year old Middletown man faces up to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to 4 counts of Home Improvement Fraud and 4 counts of Theft. The felony pleas came in connection with a series of home improvement frauds involving at least 16 victims and approximately $300,000 in losses in southern New Castle County and northern Kent County. Mario W. Mareno, 50, was first arrested in May 2016 by the First State Fugitive Task Force on outstanding warrants for Home Improvement Fraud from the Delaware State Police, the New Castle County Police, and the Middletown Police Department. Following arrest and release on bail, Mareno disappeared from the state, but law enforcement located him in Forsyth, North Carolina, and he was extradited back to Delaware. An investigation found that in 2015 and 2016 Mareno solicited and corresponded with victims via Facebook, text messages, and email. Mareno would get victims to make large up-front payments, supposedly to obtain required permits and purchase materials and supplies, and then never substantially complete the work. In some cases, victims discovered that Mareno did not obtain permits or purchase materials as represented, and he manufactured evidence purporting to show that delays and problems were the fault of other people, including victims themselves. In addition to pleading guilty to Home Improvement Fraud and Theft, Mareno will be ordered to provide restitution to all victims, and will, upon his release from prison, be prohibited from working, advertising, or otherwise offering any type of construction services, including home improvement services, in the State of Delaware. Sentencing will take place on December 12. Deputy Attorneys General Christian Douglas Wright, Gillian Andrews, and Shaun Michael Kelly prosecuted the case, with assistance from CPU Chief Special Investigator Alan Rachko and paralegal Angela Williams.

Dover Organization Ordered by Court To Stop Offering Diplomas Until It Cooperates With Investigators

DOJ Consumer Protection Unit Cautions Delawareans About Dubious Diploma Services

Following consumer complaints, an investigation by the Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit and a lack of response to investigative demands, a state Superior Court judge has held the Bright Rock Christian Academy and its principals in contempt and ordered the organization to stop soliciting, offering, charging for, or attempting to offer or charge for diploma or education services in Delaware until such time as it complies with the investigative demands.

Bright Rock has operated under various names since approximately 2006, including:

  • Bertha E. Roach Academy
  • Bertha Roach Christian High School
  • Bertha Roach Christian School
  • Bertha Elizabeth Roach Christian School
  • B.E.R. Academy
  • B.E.R. Christian High School
  • Bright Rock Christian Academy
  • The Enlighten Center

Bright Rock’s principals include Clifton Maurice Pettyjohn, Derone L. Daniels, Ira D. Roach, III, Charmagne R. Quarles (a/k/a Reya Quarles), and Sonya Yvette Harris.

In the summer of 2016, CPU received complaints from former students of Bright Rock and its affiliates that high school diplomas obtained from those organizations were not accepted by employers or institutions of higher education.  The Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) commenced an investigation in August 2016 and served Bright Rock, its principals, and affiliates with a subpoena, which Bright Rock ignored. CPU then obtained a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Superior Court in April 2017.  Bright Rock produced a deficient, incomplete and untimely response to the CID, after which CPU asked the Superior Court for relief to ensure that Bright Rock and its principals and affiliates properly comply with their efforts to further investigate the matter.

On August 4, 2017, the Superior Court issued an order finding Bright Rock, its principals, and affiliates in contempt for failing to respond properly and fully to the CID. The order enjoins Bright Rock, its principals, and affiliates from soliciting, offering, charging for, or attempting to offer or charge for diploma or education services in Delaware, suspends their corporate charter and enjoins them from organizing in any form for the purpose of rendering diploma or education services in Delaware, and assesses fines and penalties.  These injunctions and sanctions remain in place until Bright Rock, its principals and affiliates come into compliance with the CID.

This matter was handled for CPU by Assistant Director Gillian Andrews and Chief Special Investigator Alan Rachko.

Any Delawarean seeking to obtain a high school education or other education credential should be sure that the organization or institution they select is legitimate and that the degree, certification, or other credential they obtain will be accepted by the employer or educational institution they seek admission to.

The following are some tips from the DOJ Consumer Protection Unit to check the legitimacy of nonpublic K-12 education services in Delaware:

  • Research the nonpublic education organization to see what accreditations or certifications the school possess, including information provided by the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Does the nonpublic school have a physical location or is it an online learning organization—online schools will have different accreditations and standards that may not qualify its students for certain employment or higher education;
  • Inquire about the nonpublic school’s curriculum, and how academic performance is assessed and results reported—legitimate schools may have routine exams and will report a student’s performance in a consistent manner;
  • An organization or nonpublic school promising a diploma or certificate for a large fee and little, if any, actual academic performance could be a scam and are cautioned against;
  • A legitimate nonpublic school will require its students to perform academically and will have consistent means of testing that performance through routine exams or practicums;
  • Ask the organization or nonpublic school for information on their alumni status such as top employers or institutions of higher learning that their graduates have been admitted to;
  • Ask the employer or institution of higher learning you seek admission to whether a diplomas or certificate from that school will be accepted; and
  • The Delaware Department of Education does not endorse, accredit, approve or monitor curriculum for any nonpublic school, or validate any type of credential provided by those schools.

Consumers who believe they may have been scammed can contact the Attorney General’s toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or email the Consumer Protection Unit of DOJ at consumer.protection@delaware.gov.  If the school was an online learning institution, the consumer should also file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov.