Suwannee Democrat


April 21, 2014

White Springs man arrested on five counts of fraud

Jasper — A White Springs man was arrested and booked into the Hamilton County Jail on a warrant that was issued for five counts of felony fraud, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and the White Springs Police Department (WSPD).

Reports state that on Thursday, April 17, at 5:30 p.m., a deputy from HCSO observed Joe Edward Griffin, 65, 16589 Mill St., White Springs, known to him to have active warrants.

According to WSPD, evidence of fraud on the part of Griffin was taken to the State Attorney’s Office and then Judge Andrew Decker signed off on the five warrants on Wednesday, April 16, after finding probable cause.

After confirming with HCSO 911 dispatch that Griffin had five counts of uttering false instruments against him, he was placed under arrest and transported to the Hamilton County Jail.

An incident report from WSPD states that on Feb. 24, Griffin submitted an application to the town of White Springs for the position of town manager that contained false information, including copies of U.S. Navy military certificates; two Silver Star and three Bronze Star awards.

Griffin also claimed on his application that he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Florida Technological University (FTU), a masters degree in avionics from the University of West Florida, and a masters degree in education from Pepperdine University.

Questions arose when town officials noticed all of Griffin’s military awards were earned within a one-year span. When asked to supply the town with his military service record (DD214 Member 4) paperwork, Griffin stated his certificate copies should suffice as it was federal law, WSPD said.

Further background checks on Griffin revealed that FTU had no record of Griffin being enrolled at the school from 1966-1970, and that they do not offer a bachelor of chemistry degree. FTU also advised that the school was not established until 1982, reports state.

It was further discovered that the Department of the Navy had no record of member Lieutenant Joe. E. Griffin, USN receiving a Silver Star award. A Navy spokesperson said, “The documents the member provided appear not to be authentic.” It was also noted that Griffin was a Lieutenant in the Navy when he was honorably discharged, reports show.

Additionally, it was discovered that Griffin did not receive any Bronze Star awards. The Navy Awards department stated Griffin was eligible for the National Defense Service medal and that the only recognition on file on behalf of Griffin is a letter of appreciation from the Navy, WSPD stated.

Griffin was arrested and transported to the Hamilton County Jail, charged with five felony counts of fraud. His bond was set at $10,000 and he has since bonded out, according to HCSO.

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