Suspects sentenced in Holmes County fraud case

Holmes County

HOLMES COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Holmes County man pled guilty this week to numerous federal crimes including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft of government funds, aggravated identity theft, tax evasion and obstruction of the internal revenue laws.

Wednesday, sentencing hearings for Bonifay man Duane Edward Crawson and several other conspirators were conducted after they were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Crawson was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison.

Last year, federal prosecutors indicted multiple Holmes County officials on conspiracy to steal government drought assistance funds.

Authorities said Crawson led the conspiracy, which included a former Holmes County Clerk of Court and 28 other public officials.

Crawson, 43, who at the time served as a County Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, obtained more than $400,000 in taxpayer funds by submitting fraudulent drought assistance claims for co-conspirators, according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Crawson submitted claims for livestock and farmland parcels that were not actually owned or leased by the conspirators so that drought assistance funds would be deposited into the conspirators’ bank accounts. The co-conspirators then paid Crawson kickbacks from the fraud proceeds, prosecutors said.

Last week, one of the conspirators, Danyel Witt, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Two others, Jeremiah Rolling and Justin Chopelas, were found not guilty.

The remaining 26 defendants pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft of
government funds. Sentences for all 26 are:

  • Duane Edward Crawson, of Bonifay, Florida, 36 months in federal prison;
  • Davey Eugene Mancill, of Westville, Florida, 24 months in federal prison;
  • James Stacey Paul, of Bonifay, Florida, 18 months in federal prison;
  • Jordan Ryan Hicks, of Ponce De Leon, Florida, 15 months in federal prison;
  • Kyle Martin Hudson, of Westville, Florida, 12 months and 1day in federal prison;
  • Dwayne Frazier White, of Bonifay, Florida, 12 days in federal prison, 4 years of probation;
  • Ronald Ryan Roof, X, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Christopher Marion Ammons, of Ponce De Leon, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Sheryl Day Gillman, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Shyloe Rose Sachse, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Tillman Douglas Mears, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Dawn Marie Crutchfield, of Bonifay Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Megan Leann Roof, of Westville, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Billy Coal Bradshaw, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • James Erwin Mancill, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Joseph Matthew Crowder, of Caryville, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Audrey Lynn Smith, of Caryville, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Brian Anthony Ammons, of Ponce De Leon, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Taylor Ward Stripling, of Westville, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Dawn Marie Roof, of Chipley, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Daniel Olajuwon Boston, of Chipley, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Chassity Lynn Lee, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Jennifer Marie McCabe, of Bonifay, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Justina Rae Williams, of Caryville, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Joseph Bailey Alexander, of Chipley, Florida, 4 years of probation;
  • Douglas Edward Mixon, of Westville, Florida, 2 years of probation

As a part of their sentence, each defendant must pay the amount of their fraudulent claims in restitution.

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