Investigation leads to major fraud arrest
MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - The Brevard County Sheriff's Office says that their Economic Crimes Task Force has culminated an investigation into the allegations of fraudulent activities with the arrest of 65-year-old John Franklin Tice of West Melbourne.
They say he was arrested on Thursday after an arrest warrant was issued by a judge, charging him with Scheme to Defraud under $20,000.00, Communications Fraud, Depositing an item with the intent to Defraud, and Grand Theft. He was booked on a $20,000 bond.
The investigation reportedly began in May 2017, after the Melbourne City Council and city officials were made aware of possible fraudulent activities conducted by Tice when he served as the Executive Director of the Honor America/Liberty Bell Museum.
The sheriff's office says that suspicions centered around a donation that was diverted by Tice from the Liberty Bell Museum financial accounts to the Brevard Hall of Fame financial accounts of which Tice was registered as the President. They believe that Tice used this money for personal use.
The investigation revealed that in 2015, Tice was put in charge of of securing a contractor to repair the roof of the museum. He secured a proposal from a roofing company to make the repairs. The City of Melbourne and the museum were going to split the cost. Upon receiving the first payment, the roofing company made a monetary donation of $7,000.00 via a check payable to the museum.
However, the sheriff's office says that Tice directed the roofing company to take the check back and reissue the check payable to the Brevard Hall of Fame. Tice then used those funds for personal purchases such as: Miami Dolphin season tickets, Pro football memorabilia, restaurants, and personal debt payments.
Agents reportedly found that the Brevard Hall of Fame was not an active charity at the time, having had no meetings as is required by the State of Florida. Tice was relieved of his position as Executive Director of the museum in February of 2016 for another unrelated matter.
The Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and the Melbourne Police Chief David Gillespie will held a press conference at 1:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon in Merritt Island.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Titusville Police Department, Melbourne Police Department, Cocoa Police Department and a dedicated attorney from the State Attorney’s Office.
For additional information concerning this News Release, please call PIO Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321-501-7594