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Caravelle Hotel Armed Security Guard Tried To Take Parents’ Home In Alleged Forgery: VIPD

FREDERIKSTED — A St. Croix man who worked as an armed security guard for a slot-machine-only casino hotel is charged with trying to illegally take his elderly parents’ home by forgery, authorities said.

John Challenger, 35, of Estate Cane Carlton was arrested at 8:32 a.m. Friday on a Superior Court bench warrant on a charge of forgery and filing or recording forged instruments, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

VIPD mugshot of John Challenger, 35, of Estate Cane Carlton on St. Croix.

The investigation into this case alleges that Challenger forged his parents’ signatures on a deed to their residence and gained ownership of the property without their knowledge in July of 2019, according to the VIPD.

Challenger’s bail was set at $35,000. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC) pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

Challenger worked for the Caravelle Hotel in downtown Christiansted as an armed security guard. He formerly worked for Hendricks’ Group Honda-Acura Dealership in Estate La Grande Princesse on the North Shore Road.

The Carvelle Hotel & Casino on Queen Cross Street In Christiansted and its accompanying stores are closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The VIPD Economic Crime Unit investigates all allegations of economic crimes, but cases involving financial exploitation of the elderly are given priority.

“The Economic Crime Unit will investigate, arrest, and when necessary extradite those seeking to exploit our senior citizens,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

The U.S. Virgin Islands were among 32 states and territories last year that “added legislation to strengthen penalties for, or created legislation to deter unscrupulous persons (to include family members), from taking advantage of the elderly and persons dependent on their care,” police said.

The legislation was supported by the Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor, who pledged the VIPD’s support of the law.

Upon passage of the law last year, the Economic Crime Unit (ECU) led by VIPD Sergeant Antonette Sargent, was given a mandate to bring all pending cases to the commissioner’s office for review.

“Regardless of who you are or where you work, if our investigation determines that you have committed this violation of trust, you will be arrested,” Commissioner Velinor said.

As a result of the review, a total of 21 cases ranging from identity theft to financial exploitation of the elderly, were processed and executed here in the territory.

Commissioner Velinor said that he “applauds the Economic Crime Unit for their continued hard work, and encourages all victims of economic crimes to report their incidents to the police by calling 911, or the Economic Crime Unit at (340) 778-2211.”

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