Vernell Reynolds is a whole different type of corrupt cop. She stands accused of not just embezzling $200,000, but from swiping that money from a charity set up by police officers which she oversaw. The U.S. Department of Justice announced her arrest and indictment today, and claims some of the money was withdrawn from the charity's bank account at local casinos.
Reynolds, a 17-year veteran of the force, served as president of the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association from 2005 until 2010. Back in March, Reynolds was arrested for stealing $7,000 from the group's Step Up for Students scholarship fund. That money is supposed to provide scholarships for inner city youth. Instead, Reynolds used the money to pay her son's tuition at a Catholic private school, Monsignor Edward Pace High School. Oddly, at the time, Reynolds had also forged her son's birth certificate so that her sister, Vanessa Williams (no, not any of these ones), was listed on the mother.
Funding her own son's education however doesn't seem to be the only of Reynolds' sins.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, has hit Reynolds with a new set of charges:
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As president, Reynolds had signature authority over the MCPBA credit union accounts. Reynolds also possessed and used an ATM/debit card that accessed the MCPBA credit union accounts. The indictment alleges that as early as September 2008, Reynolds began stealing money from the MCPBA accounts and using it for her own purposes. Reynolds' scheme continued through June 2010.
According to the indictment, Reynolds made unauthorized withdrawals from the MCPBA credit union accounts, made unauthorized personal purchases with MCPBA funds and transferred MCPBA funds from the MCPBA accounts to her personal credit union accounts. The indictment alleges that some of these unauthorized withdrawals occurred at casinos located in South Florida and on at least one occasion in California. Reynolds failed to disclose her unauthorized withdrawals, purchases and transfers to the MCPBA members and presented false financial information to the MCPBA members to conceal her fraud.
Reynolds has now been charged on sixteen counts of wire fraud.