JSO: Employee charged with felony for building deck on JSO's dime

Employee used JSO's 'blanket order' for Lowe's for personal project

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter

William Winstead was named civilian supervisor of the month in December 2008.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A civilian employee who worked for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for 27 years has resigned amid an investigation into a fraud scheme, Undersheriff Pat Ivey announced Thursday.

Ivey said the JSO Integrity Unit received an anonymous tip last week that William G. Winstead, a facilities manager with the Sheriff's Office, had been using the department's "blanket order" for Lowe's to purchase items for personal use.

Ivey explained the department has blanket orders that allow employees to purchase items for the department from certain vetted companies, and the orders cap the amount that can be spent at the company in a year.

He said the investigation into Winstead, 70, found he had purchased wood, nails, screws, tools and a fence or gate that were used to build a deck at a privately owned property. He submitted those purchases under the "blanket order" as if they were bought for the Sheriff's Office.

Ivey said that at face value, those items could have been used by the department, but when investigators dug deeper they found Winstead had kept them for personal use. 

He said Winstead might have some ownership of the property where the deck was built, but that it wasn't his primary residence. Ivey said the purchases were made over a period of time and not all at once.

Winstead was arrested Wednesday night on a charge of organized fraud or engaging in a scheme to defraud, which is a third-degree felony. He was also charged with fraudulently obtaining property worth less than $20,000.

The State Attorney's Office will now take the case and determine whether to move forward with prosecution.

Ivey said Winstead resigned.

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