Thursday, August 21, 2014

Former Brevard County Commission Candidate Arrested






MELBOURNE, Florida -- The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Economic Crimes Task Force has culminated an investigation into an alleged organized theft ring today by obtaining arrest warrants for the suspects, which included a former Brevard County Commissioner candidate.


Agents arrested 50-year-old Lisa McDermott and 59-year-old James McDermott of 2231 Canterbury Lane, Melbourne.  Both were charged with Racketeering, Money Laundering and Dealing in Stolen Property and are currently being held at the Brevard County Jail on a $65,000 Bond. 


Also arrested was 79-year-old Leonard Greenberg, of Melbourne, who was charged with Racketeering, Dealing in Stolen Property and Organized Retail Theft.  Greenberg is currently incarcerated at the County Jail on a $65,000 Bond status.  Previously arrested was 60-year-old Thierry Lettiere, who is currently incarcerated in the Florida Department of Corrections after recently being sentenced to five years for retail theft.  He will be extradited to Brevard County on new charges related to this investigation.   Two other alleged participants involved in the theft and trafficking of health products, are being actively sought by Agents.  They are identified as 29-year-old Brandon Lettiere and 55-year-old Susan Lovell.

The investigation was initiated in April of 2013 after the Sheriff’s Office received several reports of the theft of large amounts of health products from local retailers.  Investigators say that they were able to identify a cooperating individual who provided information that individuals were allegedly stealing large amounts of health products that were then being taken to a business in West Melbourne known as the Ice Cream Depot.  Investigators determined that the business was owned by Lisa and James McDermott and that the individuals involved in the theft were allegedly directed by James McDermott to specific areas of the state to steal specific items. The products were then stolen and brought to the business where the transactions would be completed.


Surveillance was set up on the business where agents were able to observe suspects arrive at the business and enter carrying large bags with stolen items, stay inside the business for a brief period of time and then exit the business without the stolen products. The investigation included two controlled deliveries of merchandise valued at over $1000.00, which investigators say the McDermotts believed was stolen and purchased. 


Investigators learned that once the items were purchased, they were either placed on eBay for sale or sold to specific individuals who paid for the health products via PayPal.  Financial records were obtained from both EBay and PayPal that showed the McDermotts received over $111,000 dollars from the sale of health products via PayPal between November 2012 and June 2014.  An examination of these records and records from accounts in the name of Lisa McDermott identified that monies from the PayPal account were then transferred and commingled with monies in two personal accounts of Lisa McDermott.  One account being opened at the time Lisa McDermott announced her run for the Brevard County Commission. 


In June of 2014, the Economic Crimes Task Force served a search warrant at the Ice Cream Depot. Seized during the execution of the search warrant were health products along with computers.  Investigators say that a forensic examination of the computers provided further evidence of the illicit sale of health products.


Lisa McDermott, a strong supporter of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast on the campaign trail, withdrew from the Brevard County Commission District 4 race after the search warrant was served at the Ice Cream Depot.  She had since thrown her support to Greg Jones in the District 4 race.


The Economic Crimes Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Titusville Police Department, Melbourne Police Department and the Brevard County State Attorney Office. 

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call Agent Chris Shephard or Agent Robert Fisher of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crime Unit at 321-633-8410 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). 


All calls to CRIMELINE are confidential, and callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to an arrest.