Monthly Archives: October 2010

OCPD WARNING CITIZENS TO BEWARE OF SCAMS

The Ocean City Police Department is advising citizens to be aware of a potential employment scam involving the use of the popular internet site “craigslist.com”.  The scam is similar to ones involving other popular retail posting sites such as “autotrader.com” and “ebay.com”.

This particular scam involves a victim attempting to gain employment for a service, in one case it was to provide cleaning service for a person who is living out of the country and owns property in Ocean City.  All employment negotiations and correspondence were done through email.

The scam works as follows; the victim is offered employment and mailed a counterfeit “check” to cover the costs of the service provided.  In most cases the check is either drawn on an obscure corporate business account from what appears to be a legitimate bank or is a cashier’s check from a well known national bank. The victim is paid more money than was negotiated and asked to quickly deposit the “check” into the victims account.  Once the “check” is deposited into the victims account, the victim is asked to withdraw a portion of the money, and send it via “Western Union” to an additional location, usually as part of way for the alleged “employer” to pay for additional services or transportation fees as means to avoid overseas fees and or taxes. 

By the time the victim transfers actual funds the local bank where the original check was deposited notifies the victim that the check they deposited is fraudulent and that the money they withdrew and sent using “Western Union” is gone.  The result is the victim is responsible for the overdraft on the account even though the check is a fake and the victim is out the money.

What transpires is a crime of fraud and theft, however while it will be investigated it is very difficult to catch the perpetrators and unlikely the victims money will be recovered.  In this case, an alert bank official immediately suspected the check was a fake, and the victim was not scammed.

The OCPD recommends that persons do not engage in internet based employment activities where the employer is not well known to the employee.  If you receive any money in the form of corporate or bank checks, you should allow them to fully clear your banks authentication and verification processes, this typically takes 7 business days.  Do not send any money using wire transfer services as this is the tell-tale sign of a counterfeit check scam.

If you have been the victim of a scam please contact the police.  If you have been solicited for this type of scam, save your correspondence and contact your local police department.  The OCPD advises citizens to never provide your personal banking account information and/or personal identification information including birthday, social security number to anyone over the internet.

OCPD UNDERCOVER OFFICER HONORED BY ELKS WITH CAMARENA AWARD

The Maryland, Delaware and District of Columbia Elks Regional Association recently honored Ocean City Police Narcotics Corporal James Schwartz with the Enrique S. Camarena Award.  Enrique S. Camarena was a DEA agent who lost his life during his crusade to lead Americans to drug-free communities.  Each year, the Elks present the Enrique S. Camarena Award to a member of law enforcement who best exemplifies the qualities and principles for which Agent Camarena gave his life.
 
D/Cpl. Schwartz started his law enforcement career as a seasonal police officer in 1997 with the Ocean City Police Department.  D/Cpl. Schwartz then worked as a police officer for two years with the City of Norfolk, Virginia Police Department.  D/Cpl. Schwartz returned to the Ocean City Police Department full time in 1999, and has been assigned to the Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Criminal Investigation Division since 2000. 

In 2009, D/Cpl. Schwartz was awarded the Bronze Star for stopping one pound of cocaine from entering into Worcester County.  In 2008, D/Cpl. Schwartz was awarded the Maryland Chiefs of Police Exceptional Police Performance Award for exceptional police work in narcotics enforcement.  Only three police officers in the State of Maryland received this award.  Additionally in 2008, D/Cpl. Schwartz won the Ocean City Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch Police 2008 Officer of the Year award.  D/Cpl. Schwartz is the first Narcotics Detective to win this award in the history of the department.  D/Cpl. Schwartz has also received a meritorious service award, excellent police performance award, and two unit citations for exceptional police work in narcotics enforcement.

In addition to his responsibilities to the Ocean City Police Department, D/Cpl. Schwartz is currently the President of the Maryland Chapter of NADDI – the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.  During his tenure, D/Cpl. Schwartz has authored over 50 drug search and seizure warrants; purchased over 420 grams of crack and powder cocaine with an estimated street value of over $31,500 while working in an undercover capacity; initiated and supervised over 100 long term felony drug investigations; and has been involved in hundreds of drug arrests as a Narcotics Detective. 

In 2007, D/Cpl. Schwartz initiated a pharmaceutical drug diversion investigation, which dismantled a regional drug distribution ring that stretched into Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.  A total of seven individuals were arrested and over 600 oxycodone pills were purchased with an estimated street value of over $21,000.

D/Cpl. Schwartz has also worked numerous multi-jurisdictional narcotics investigations with the DEA, FBI, ATF, MD State Police, DE State Police, Worcester County Sheriffs Office, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

During the 10 years he spent in Vice/Narcotics, D/Cpl. Schwartz has been deemed an expert witness in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Worcester County Circuit Court, and Worcester County District Court.  D/Cpl. Schwartz has attended over 24 specialized training classes throughout the country specializing in narcotics investigations, pharmaceutical drug diversion investigations, use of confidential informants, surveillance, undercover operations, search and seizure, drug identification, raids, raid planning, asset forfeiture, interview and interrogation, the use of undercover agents and officers, and financial investigative techniques.

D/Cpl. Schwartz is the first Ocean City Police Officer to receive the Enrique S. Camarena Award.  In addition to receiving the Maryland, Delaware and District of Columbia Regional Award, D/Cpl. Schwartz was first runner-up for the National Enrique S. Camarena Award.  “I am truly humbled to receive the Camarena Award,” said D/Cpl. Schwartz.  “I am just as excited and enthusiastic about my job today as I was when I started in Narcotics, and I look forward to continuing to work as hard as Enrique Camarena did to keep drugs off of the streets of Ocean City.”

POLICE INVESTIGATE UNATTENDED DEATH

On October 2, 2010, at approximately 2 a.m., Ocean City Police responded to the area of 74th Street and the beach, in reference to a person missing on the beach. 

Officers observed a man later identified as a friend of the victim (name not being released), performing CPR on an unconscious female who appeared to have been in the ocean. Officers continued CPR at the scene until Ocean City Fire Department Paramedics arrived. 

The victim, identified as Tara Chanise Taylor, 32 of Lanham, Maryland, was transported to Atlantic General Hospital Emergency Room where she was pronounced dead by hospital doctors.

The incident is not believed to be suspicious, however, police are investigating.  The victim’s body has been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland, in Baltimore for autopsy.