Suspects in satellite card scheme face felony charges
Three Kingman-area suspects in an alleged scheme to sell satellite TV computer cards are being charged with three felonies, the result of an investigation by the La Paz County Attorney's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
La Paz County Attorney Glenn Buckalew said late Tuesday afternoon at Eric Ruiz (age unavailable) and Kevin Brown, 41, both former members of the Hualapai Valley Fire Department, and Cheryl Brown, 46, a former dispatch supervisor for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, received the complaints Friday.
Buckalew said the complaints charge the trio with computer fraud, fraudulent schemes and artifices, and trafficking in stolen property.
All are felonies, Buckalew said.
In the meantime, Cheryl Brown resigned her position with the MCSO.
The resignation was turned in on Tuesday, said Steve Johnson, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.
The dispatcher had been placed on administrative leave on March 22 at the recommendation of the Mohave County Attorney's Office pending the investigation.
She had been employed at the MCSO since 1989, Johnson said.
The incident was first reported in March.
Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan contacted a criminal investigations unit of the Arizona Department of Public Safety office in Yuma and requested assistance in an investigation surrounding the trio's activities regarding the alleged sales of computer cards used to descramble satellite TV signals.
Sheahan called the DPS and the La Paz County Attorney's Office into the picture to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
An earlier story printed in the Kingman Daily Miner indicated that the two firefighters allegedly reprogrammed the access cards using station computer equipment at Hualapai Valley Fire Station No.
They allegedly sold those cards for $200 each, according to a DPS report.
A copy of one check in the amount of $200 used as payment for one of the cards was given to the DPS as evidence.
The DPS also executed a search warrant at Hualapai Valley Fire Station No.
During the search, officers seized personal and departmental equipment from the firefighters' desks and lockers.
A station computer was one of the items seized by the officers.
The two men have since been fired by the department.
MCSO spokesman Steve Johnson said the three were not arrested by his agency and "It's likely that they were summoned in." He explained that in some cases in which flight is not a factor, defendants are summoned to appear on the charges.