Duplicate payments, double billing found within Crime Stoppers organization

The Heartland Crime Stoppers organization, serving the counties of Hardee, Highlands and Polk in Florida, was recently the focus of an investigation by the State Attorney's General's.

According to The Ledger, there was suspicion that the organization's former director, Wayne Cross, had participated in illegal tampering regarding Crime Stopper's financial records. The newspaper delved into an examination of various documents, and found evidence of duplicate payments to credit card companies, double billing and lack of financial control. Following the news source's findings, a further investigation was launched by the State Attorney's Office. However, the probe came to an end when Florida's Attorney General said that Cross could not be charged with the activities due to the fact that he was not deemed a public servant during his time as director. The report did state there was a large amount of financial irresponsibility by Cross,
but it was determined there was no criminal intent involved, says The Ledger.

"After thorough investigation it is clear that there was gross mismanagement on the part of Wayne Cross with the operation of Crimestoppers," said David Lyon, who headed the examination. "Mr. Cross was very unorganized, which led to the appearance of improprieties. I have found no evidence that would rise to the level of criminal actions that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

The Heartland Crime Stoppers is an organization aimed at stopping illegal activity in the local area. It allows citizens to anonymously submit information through the website or by phone to report crimes and it offers cash rewards to individuals who provide tips leading to an arrest, states the program's site.

Efforts are being made in order to widen the state law in regards to what defines a public servant, says the newspaper. If Cross had been considered a public servant, he could have faced charges for the activities. 

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