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Bradshaw found guilty of mail fraud

August 05, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A former West Virginia State Police sergeant was found guilty Friday of mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000.

George William Bradshaw III, 58, of 614 E. Moler Ave. in Martinsburg, appeared relatively calm after the verdict was announced about 3:15 p.m. and even comforted a family member who couldn't hold back tears.

The verdict - whihc came after more than three hours of deliberations - concluded five days of proceedings that featured testimony by at least 16 current and former officers with the agency.

Bradshaw's attorney, Craig Manford, bowed his head in disappointment upon hearing the decision in what Judge W. Craig Broadwater described as a "well-fought case."

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"I always respect the jury's decisions," said Manford, who has seven days to file post-trial motions, such as a request for a new trial.

A sentencing date is pending the outcome of a Sept. 6 hearing scheduled by Broadwater to consider any motions.

Manford said in a brief interview that there might be some legal grounds for an appeal, presumably to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

"It's sad, but we're fortunate that it's rare," Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul T. Camilletti said of Bradshaw's conviction. "I have nothing but respect for the State Police. You don't take pleasure in this kind of verdict. You can only take satisfaction that justice was served."

In his presentation of the government's case, Camilletti had witnesses repeatedly dissect at least 23 "questioned" documents that investigators suspected were altered by Bradshaw while he was Martinsburg detachment commander.

The alterations, Camilletti argued, were made by Bradshaw to cover up the disappearance of thousands of dollars seized from drug dealers and other individuals arrested from 1999 to 2002. An audit revealed $18,542 was missing from 19 cases investigated by Martinsburg detachment officers. Bradshaw admitted Thursday to forging officers' initials on documents when he took the witness stand in his own defense, but he repeatedly denied taking the money.

Camilletti said Bradshaw's failure to report at least two sums of seized money as unclaimed property on state treasurer forms in the 2000-01 fiscal year allowed the money to be taken.

"He didn't report it, 'cause if he did, they'd come looking for it and his scheme would be over," Camilletti said in closing arguments.

Manford on Friday reiterated his claim that none of the missing money specifically identified in the government's case met a state code definition of unclaimed property. He also suggested that other officers could have been involved in some "monkey business" at the detachment.

"It's just as likely that someone else took that money as George did," Manford said.

About 2:30 p.m., the jury foreman informed Broadwater that the panel had made progress in reaching a decision but had become "deadlocked."

Broadwater, upon the consent of the attorneys, called the jurors back to the courtroom and read an additional instruction that encouraged them to continue to try to reach a verdict but not to abandon "clearly held" convictions about the case.

The judge also announced that one of the alternate jurors had been excused for health reasons. That juror was escorted to the restroom twice before being allowed to leave the courthouse.

When the remaining jurors returned about 3 p.m., Broadwater thanked the panel and the attorneys, and also noted how the courtroom's computer-aided equipment allowed an expedited presentation of evidence that could have taken two weeks.

During the proceedings, documents were simultaneously viewed on several monitors throughout the courtroom, including the jury box. That eliminated the need to physically pass them from juror to juror, Broadwater said.

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