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FDLE consultant arrested in fraud scheme

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John Leland Goelz

A consultant with more than two decades’ experience working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was arrested and charged with grand theft and organized scheme to defraud the state government, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

John Leland Goelz, a non-sworn technical consultant to the FDLE for 23 years, oversaw the cellphones used by agents and employees throughout the agency, said FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Pessinger.

Investigators believe Goelz purchased cellphones for himself and his family using FDLE’s mobile device contract, a violation of ethics, Pessinger added.

FDLE began examining Goelz after a member reported not being able to get an older cellphone upgraded, and went to a supervisor about it.

“He started to notice that everyone around him was getting upgrades, but his cellphone was old and he couldn’t get an upgrade,” Pessinger told by phone Thursday.

As part of its mobile device contract, FDLE is eligible for a certain number of mobile device upgrades at discounted rates each year. Goelz purchased 10 mobile devices for his personal use that should have been used to upgrade FDLE member phones, according to a statement issued by the law enforcement agency.

By using FDLE’s contract, he could receive steep discounts on the phones he purchased.  The value lost to the agency was nearly $5,000, Pessinger confirmed.

FDLE is in the process of upgrading its procedures to ensure no changes are made regarding FDLE mobile phones without supervisory oversight.  Goelz, who was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Leon County Jail, is in the process of being terminated from FDLE.

The Office of the State Attorney, 2nd Judicial Circuit will prosecute this case, Pessinger said.

Les Neuhaus is an all-platform journalist, with specialties in print reporting and writing. In addition to Florida Politics, he freelances as a general-assignment and breaking-news reporter for most of the major national daily newspapers, along with a host of digital media, and a human rights group. A former foreign correspondent across Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, Les covered a multitude of high-profile events in chronically-unstable nations. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, in which he served as a Security Policeman, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in political science. He is a proud father to his daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.

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