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Former Treasurer for the Polk County Libertarian Party of Polk County arrested for stealing funds from the party’s bank account.

Former Treasurer for the Polk County Libertarian Party of Polk County arrested for stealing funds from the party’s bank account.

35-year-old Jason Hamlin of Lakeland was arrested today and charged with grand theft (F3), filing false political party finance reports (8 counts-F3), obtaining property by fraud (F3), and fraudulent use of a credit card (F3). Hamlin was elected as the treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Polk County in 2014 and was tasked with maintaining the savings and checking account for the Party. Beginning in January of 2015, Jason Hamlin began using funds from these two Party accounts for personal gain, including cash withdrawals, transfers from the Party accounts to his personal account, and purchases at local stores and restaurants.

The Total unauthorized expenditures were $7,066.59; the total repayment to the accounts was $5,503.09 (by Hamlin); and the total net unpaid expenditures and cash withdrawals were $1,563.50. The Party conducted its own audit of the accounts, determined that there were inappropriate transactions, and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

The following is the probable cause from the arrest affidavit and is self-explanatory:

Probable Cause:

In January of 2014, Jason Hamlin was elected as Treasurer for the Libertarian Party of Polk County (LPPC) and he was tasked with maintaining both expenditures and Political contributions and these funds were initially maintained in a Wells Fargo Bank. These accounts were moved at the request of Jason Hamlin to Mid-Florida Credit Union (MFCU) on 06-17-2014 with John Wood and Jason Hamlin as signers on the account. Jason Hamlin was provided with a debit card for these accounts for purchases to be made associated with the Libertarian Party of Polk County.

In late 2016 and early 2017, Russ Wood (the current chair for the LPPC) reported having difficulty getting Jason Hamlin to monthly meetings or to provide documentation regarding the expenditure on these accounts. As a result of these issues, Jason Hamlin was released from his duties as the parties Treasurer and taken off of the bank accounts in question. When Russ Wood went to MFCU to remove Jason Hamlin as the Treasurer and to place Allison Brown, the accountant for the LPPC, they found both accounts combined had a total of $0.05. A review of the accounts revealed the fraud and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was contacted.

There is no reported misuse of the funds associated with the original Wells Fargo Bank account according to Allison Brown. A review of these accounts found that on or about 10-27-2014 a single cash transfer of $5.00 was identified being moved from a LPPC account to the known personal account of Jason Hamlin. The following transfers, withdrawals and deposits that did not appear to be for the LPPC were identified.

*** Note Bold and Underlined numbers are to the account of Jason Hamlin [4291] ***

-01-07-2015, ATM withdrawal for $80.00 from account 2952
-01-14-2015, Balance transfer from account ending 4291 to 2952 for $80.00
-05-17-2015, ATM withdrawal for $120.00 from account 2952
-05-19-2015, Balance transfer from account ending 4291 to 2952 for $120.00
-06-15-2015, ATM withdrawal for $200.00 from account 2952
-07-26-2015, Purchase from “The Sun Shoppe Caf Melbourne” for $9.69
-07-28-2015, Purchase at Iconic for $16.57 from account 2978
-07-28-2015, Purchase from an unknown business for $17.51 from account 2978
-07-29-2015, Purchase from Target #1299 for $21.38 from account 2978
-08-25-2015, Purchase from an unknown business for $34.39 from account 2978
-09-09-2015 and 09-10-2015, (2) overdraft fees for $2.50 each, total $5.00
-09-09-2015, Wells Fargo Bill Pay for $135.09 from account 2978
-09-11-2015, Purchase at Iconic for $16.57 from account 2978
-09-22-2015, Balance transfer from account ending in 4291 to 2952 for $19.07
-09-23-2015, Balance transfer from account 5169 to 2978 for $150.00
-11-03-2015, Purchase at Walmart #779 from account 2978 for $69.02
-11-03-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $69.02
-11-30-2015, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $100.00
-12-01-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $100.00
-12-06-2015, ATM withdrawal from account 2978 for $20.00
-12-09-2015, Wells Fargo Bill Pay for $135.09 from account 2978
-12-10-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $40.00
-12-10-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $20.00
-12-15-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $80.00
-12-17-2015, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $20.00
-12-17-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $20.00
-12-21-2015, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $20.00
-12-24-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $20.00
-12-24-2015 and 12-25-2015, (2) overdraft fees for $2.500 each, total $5.00
-12-24-2015, ATM withdrawal and fee from account 2978 for $23.00
-12-24-2015, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $4.98
-12-24-2015, Purchase from Walgreens from account 2978 for $21.39
-12-25-2015, (2) foreign ATM fees for $2.00 each, total $4.00
-01-04-2016 and 01-31-2016, (2) overdraft fees for $2.50 each, total of $5.00
-01-04-2016, Purchase at Iconic from account 2978 for $21.40
-02-03-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $10.00
-02-03-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $10.00
-02-04-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $140.00
-02-08-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $40.00
-02-10-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $40.00
-02-25-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $40.00
-03-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $20.00
-03-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $7.39
-03-03-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $100.00
-03-14-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $60.00
-03-16-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $85.00
-04-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-04-03-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $50.00
-04-07-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $50.00
-04-13-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $275.00
-04-21-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $100.00
-04-24-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $40.00
-04-27-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $240.00
-05-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $50.00
-05-06-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $60.00
-05-08-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-05-11-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $22.67
-05-16-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $60.00
-05-21-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $20.00
-05-25-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $180.00
-05-31-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-06-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $50.00
-06-02-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $25.00
-06-06-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $25.00
-06-07-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $25.00
-06-08-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $225.00
-06-08-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $225.00
-06-16-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $25.00
-06-18-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $25.00
-06-22-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $275.00
-06-30-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-07-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-07-02-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-07-04-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-07-06-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $100.00
-07-11-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-07-11-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-07-15-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-07-16-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-07-19-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-07-19-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $22.07
-07-20-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $320.00
-08-15-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-08-17-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-08-17-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-08-26-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-08-29-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-08-29-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-08-29-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-08-31-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $180.00
-08-31-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-08-31-2016, Balance transfer form account 4291 to 2952 for $80.00
-09-06-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-09-09-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-09-09-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-09-13-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $60.00
-09-19-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-09-23-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-09-26-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $50.00
-09-27-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $60.00
-10-04-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $175.00
-10-07-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-10-09-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-10-10-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $50.00
-10-11-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-10-12-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $600.00
-10-20-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-10-23-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-10-24-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-10-25-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-10-29-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2978 for $460.00
-10-29-2016, ATM withdrawal from 2978 for $460.00
-11-07-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $32.46
-11-07-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $61.00
-11-13-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $75.00
-11-13-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $25.00
-11-16-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $350.00
-11-21-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $220.00
-11-22-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $800.00
-12-05-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $60.00
-12-06-2016, ATM withdrawal from account 2952 for $40.00
-12-08-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $250.00
-12-09-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-12-10-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $60.00
-12-13-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-12-13-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $20.00
-12-15-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-12-17-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $40.00
-12-21-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $280.00
-12-22-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $80.00
-12-23-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $60.00
-12-25-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-01-01-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-01-04-2016, Balance transfer from account 4291 to 2952 for $400.00
-01-06-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $400.00
-01-18-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2952 to 4291 for $100.00
-01-24-2016, Withdrawal transfer from account 2978 to 4291 for $39.55

According to an audit performed by Allison Brown on or about 03-28-2017, a total of $7,066.59 was used without authorization by Jason Hamlin by either a direct cash transfer from accounts for the LPPC to his own personal MFCU account, cash withdrawals or debit card passed purchases for items like food and coffee. A total of $5,503.09 had been repaid by either cash transfers from Jason Hamlin’s personal account back to the LPPC account or by deposit. In all a total of $1,563.50 was not paid back prior to Jason Hamlin being removed as treasurer on or about 01-23-2017. When Jason Hamlin was removed as treasurer, a check of the MFCU account was made and the account was nearly empty.

Another job duty for the Treasurer is to complete a quarterly report for campaign contributions and expenditures must be provided to the Polk County Supervisor of Elections and these reports were recovered and reviewed. These reports were obtained from the Supervisor of Elections Office and reviewed. These reports are completed by the Treasurer and signed by both the Treasurer and the Chairman for the party. These reports, according to FSS 106.29, are to show any and all contributions and expenditures for the Party and are made quarterly with the exception of election dates which will alter the requirements. Several of these quarterly reports show incorrect dates however this is due to elections periods which alter the filing policy to the Supervisor of Election’s Office. The first report to the Supervisor of Elections Office is for the period covering 08-22-2014 to 10-30-2014 and this should have documented the $5.00 transaction from the account of LPPC to the personal account of Jason Hamlin.

The second report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 11-01-2014 to 12-31-2014. This report shows no discrepancies. The third report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 01-01-2015 to 03-31-2015. This report does not include a cash withdrawal of $80.00 on 01-07-2015 from a MFCU ATM. This, according to Russ Wood (Chairman of the LPPC), was not an authorized transaction and were not for the LPPC.

The forth report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 04-01-2015 to 06-30-2015. This report does not include a total of three purchases/transaction for $222.51 and these transactions were not authorized transactions and were not for the LPPC. The fifth report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 07-01-2015 to 09-30-2015. This report does not document a total of 8 transactions for a total of $256.95 and these transactions were not authorized transactions and were not for the LPPC.

The sixth report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 10-01-2015 to 12-31-2015. This report does not include a total of nine transactions totaling $356.12 and these transactions were not authorized transactions and were not for the LPPC. Along with these transactions, a total of $105.56 was assessed to the accounts for overdraft and non-MFCU withdrawals. These transactions were not authorized and were not for the LPPC. The seventh report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 01-01-2016 to 03-31-2016. This report does not include a total of six transactions totaling $188.79 which were not authorized and were not for the LPPC.

The eighth report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 04-01-2016 to 08-25-2016. This report does not include a total of thirty four transactions totaling $1,637.17 which were not authorized and were not for the LPPC. The ninth report to the Supervisor of Elections was for the period covering 08-26-2016 to 11-03-2016. This report does not include a total of twenty three transactions totaling $1,780.00 which were not authorized and were not for the LPPC. A single report was filed with the Supervisor of Elections after the ninth report but this did not provide any required documentation to show what was or was not reported as contributions or expenditures.

A review of the personal account of Jason Hamlin during the same time period shows many of the transactions were not authorized and were in fact transfers from the LPPC accounts to his personal account. In review this was commonly completed when funds in the personal account of Jason Hamlin were low. According to Russ Wood, authorization must be obtained by the Party prior to any purchase for any reason and these were commonly discussed at the monthly LPPC meetings. Each of these above reports were signed by Jason Hamlin as the Treasurer and later by the Chairman of the party prior to being submitted to the Supervisor of Elections for review.

Barbara Osthoff, the Assistant Supervisor of Elections, was tasked with reviewing each of these reports to verify they met Florida State Statue requirements and they did. It is clear that Jason Hamlin was knowingly using the bank accounts for the Libertarian Party of Polk County for personal gain and without authorization. As indicated above, Jason Hamlin did return a large portion of the $7,066.59 taken without consent leaving a balance owed to the LPPC of $1,563.50. Video from MFCU regarding several of the MFCU ATM withdrawals from the LPPC accounts were obtained and still images recovered from this video was shown to Russ Wood on 05-23-2017. Russ Wood confirmed the male party making these withdrawals on the video was in fact Jason Hamlin, the Treasurer for the party at the time of the withdrawals using the debit card and PIN assigned to him.

Jason Hamlin knowingly took over $7,000.00 of donated money from the LPPC without consent and for personal gain. Jason Hamlin also knowingly entered into a course of conduct with the intent to deprive the LPPC of these funds and knowingly falsified documents delivered to the Polk County Supervisor of Elections and the LPPC to avoid detection with the intent to continue taking money from these accounts. Jason Hamlin was released as the Treasurer of the LPPC when he refused to complete the required documents to the Supervisor of Elections in late 2016 and early 2017. In all, eight of the reports to the Supervisor of Elections were found to be falsified and did not contain all of the expenditures as required under FSS 106.29.

Charges:

812.014(2)(C)2  1       F3      GRAND THEFT – $5,000
817.61…       1       F3      FRAUDULENT USE OF CR
106.29(2)       8       F3      FILE FALSE POLITICAL
817.034(4)(B)1. 1       F3      OBTAIN COMMUNIC PROP

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