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RE/MAX Broker Still Hasn’t Had Trial 11 Years After Fleeing St. Thomas With Millions

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas real estate broker who allegedly stole millions of dollars from her RE/MAX clients still has not gone to trial — about a year after she was last scheduled to do so.

The criminal case against former real estate agent Rosemary Sauter-Frett might never go to trial — as more than a decade has already passed since she fled the territory to escape a warrant seeking her arrest.

Virgin Islands Superior Court Judge Denise Francois issued an order last year scheduling a new trial date of August 18. 2020.

Sauter-Frett, 68, is accused of embezzling potentially millions of dollars from clients in the early 2000s.

In 2010, Sauter-Frett fled the territory after authorities issued an arrest warrant for her. Court documents indicate she spent at least part of her time as a fugitive in Kentucky, before moving to California, where she eventually was arrested in February 2014.

While on the run, she managed to pay off a federal tax lien.

Her trial has been delayed several times since her arrest.

At least 11 years have now passed since the original arrest warrant and Frett’s flight from justice without a jury having been selected in the case.

Her previous criminal history includes a 1983 conviction in California at age 29 — when she was known as Rosemary Chernowski — for stealing $25,000 from Lewis W. Douglas Development Company.

In 1996, she obtained a real estate license in the territory by omitting the conviction from her application.

The conviction was vacated in 2000, but the California Superior Court order vacating the judgment mandated that Sauter-Frett make clear on licensures, questionnaires and applications for public office that she is a felon.

Just weeks before she went missing in 2010, her name also surfaced in the trial of two former police officers and a drug dealer who were accused of extorting a suspected drug dealer, Richard Motta.

During the trial, attorneys implied that Sauter-Frett had worked with and tried to hire Motta to kill her husband, Jacob Frett.

The officers, Enrique Saldana and George Greene Jr., had seized Motta’s rented vehicle on December 4, 2008, which was found to contain paperwork from Sauter-Frett.

Saldana found out later about the possible hit that was in the works at Sauter-Frett’s request, according to Darren John-Baptiste, who represented Saldana during the trial.

Saldana is currently in prison for the murder of his wife, Jeanette Magras, in an unrelated case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Lindquist also implied during the trial that Sauter-Frett had paid Motta to kill her husband.

Whether Sauter-Frett actually tried to have her husband killed was never answered in the trial and she never faced charges in connection with the claim.

Following her arrest in 2014, Sauter-Frett’s husband helped her post bond and agreed to serve as her third-party custodian when she was released from jail after seven months.

Frett died last year around this time, according to an obituary published in a local newspaper.

“Mrs. Frett appears to still be on house arrest as she has continued to satisfy her financial requirements for her house arrest conditions,” V.I. Superior Court Clerk Tamara Charles said last year.

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St. Thomas Teacher Charged With 2 Counts Of Child Sexual Assault In Colorado

CHARLOTTE AMALIEI — A current U.S. Virgin Islands teacher has been charged with two counts of felonious sexual assault on a child in Colorado, according to the Hayden Police Department.

James Dingle, 63, was located and arrested by federal officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands on a warrant issued out of Colorado, according to the 14th Judicial District Court. Dingle was formally charged with two class three felonies of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

If found guilty, the charges carry a sentence from four years to life in prison.

A former Routt County resident, Dingle now resides in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he recently began work at a school here, according to authorities.

Dingle had left the Hayden School District earlier this year, which is where the alleged offenses were reported to have occurred, according to the court.

Dingle remains in custody in Florida while he awaits extradition back to Colorado.

The Hayden Police Department investigated the case, and the arrest was made with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal Service and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hayden, Colorado has a population of 1,810.

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Vincentian Sex Offender Who Hid In St. Thomas Is In Official Custody After Being Captured By U.S. Marshals

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Vincentian native who hid in St. Thomas to avoid his sentencing following a sexual assault conviction in 2010 has been captured and is now in the custody of Connecticut state authorities.

Gerald “Steve” Jessop, 52, of Kingstown, is charged with first-degree failure to appear in court, Hartford police said.

Jessop is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bond at Hartford Correctional Center and was scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court.

Police received information that Jessop had fled to the U.S. Virgin Islands nine years ago and assumed a new identity, according to The Hartford Courant.

Jessop didn’t stay in the territory, but eventually returned to his native St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Police and the Hartford state’s attorney’s office then worked with the U.S. State Department to find and arrest Jessop and U.S. Marshals brought him back to Connecticut.

A jury found Jessop guilty in October 2010 of molesting a 10-year-old girl on a single occasion in March 2008.

The jury convicted Jessop of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child. Connecticut Judge Julia DiCocco Dewey, who presided over the trial, didn’t increase Jessop’s bond after the jury verdict, allowing him to remain free until his sentencing, which was scheduled for early January 2011.

Jessop failed to show up for the sentencing, prompting Dewey to order his re-arrest.

Judges usually increase a defendant’s bond after a conviction at trial, on the theory that the defendant has an increased incentive to flee when he knows he will be going to prison.

Jessop was — and still is — facing a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 45 years for the crimes the jury convicted him of. If he is convicted of willfully failing to appear in court for the 2011 sentencing, he could face an additional five years behind bars.

After his release from prison, he faces deportation to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Man Who Police Shot In 2014 Arrested By U.S. Marshals On Murder Warrant Saturday

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A man who was shot by police in 2014 was arrested just after midnight in connection to the shooting death of a construction worker near Veterans Drive on St. Thomas last year, authorities said.

Azamba Galloway, 29 of Kirwan Terrace, was arrested about 12:24 a.m. Saturday by officers of the VIPD’s Special Operations Bureau and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. Galloway was arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder and a warrant for reckless endangerment and third-degree assault, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Galloway was implicated in the shooting death of construction worker Curtis Fredericks on May 19, 2019 at the Edward Blyden Marine Terminal, according to the VIPD.

Man Who Police Shot In 2014 Arrested By U.S. Marshals On Murder Warrant Saturday
SHOT DEAD: Curtis Fredericks, 29, of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.

In an unrelated incident, on August 30, 2019, Galloway evaded officers during a traffic stop in the vicinity of Kmart Sugar Estate, attempting to run officers over with his vehicle.

At an advice-of-rights hearing, bail for Galloway was set at $500,000 for the murder charge and $50,000 for the assault charge. He was unable to post bail,and he was remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC).

In 2014, Galloway was allegedly shot by police near an animal pen at the Kirwan Terrace housing project in Charlotte Amalie West. The injured man sued the police department after the shooting.

Man Who Police Shot In 2014 Arrested By U.S. Marshals On Murder Warrant Saturday
After being shot by a police officer in 2014, Azamba Galloway collapsed next to this animal pen behind units at the Kirwan Terrace on St. Thomas.

St. Thomas / St. John Police Chief Ludrick Thomas commended officers for their work in this and other cases.

“I appreciate the focused work of our officers, along with our Federal partners, to ensure our streets are safe,” Chief Thomas said. He encouraged the community to come forward with any information they may have on incidents to help the VIPD solve crimes.

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Joint Federal-VIPD Crime Fighting Operation Leads To Arrest, Guns and Drugs Seizure On St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Virgin Islands Police Department’s Special Operations Bureau, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Marshals Service executed a crime fighting initiative in the vicinity of building 21 & 22 at the Tutu High Rise Housing community on St. Thomas about 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

This initiative led to the arrest of Nesta Thomas, 37, the seizure of a model Glock 23, .40 caliber handgun with two extended magazines with ammunition and 20 cultivated marijuana pots, according to the VIPD.

The Virgin Islands Housing Authority requested assistance from VIPD about trespassing and suspicious activities that were plaguing the community that was vacated, shuttered and scheduled for demolition. St. Thomas/St. John Acting Deputy Police Chief David Cannonier was alerted of the concerns about illegal activity in the area and initiated the joint operations response. As officers arrived on the scene, they encountered Thomas trespassing on the property.

Further investigation led officers to discover that Thomas had occupied an apartment on the property where they seized a weapon, extended magazines with ammunition and the pots of marijuana. In addition, Thomas had an adult dog and two pups on the property. Deputy Police Commissioner Celvin Walwyn expressed the department’s commitment to ridding the community of the criminal element. “VIPD will be more visible in conducting more of these spontaneous operations across the territory,” Walwyn said.

Special Operations, Detective Richard Valazquez, expressed his optimism about the joint operation. “I want to sincerely thank our federal partners,” Valazquez said. “When we work together, we can effectively address and combat criminal activity throughout the territory.

Thomas was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm within one thousand feet of a school, possession of a firearm within one thousand feet of a housing community and possession of ammunition.

The VIPD is asking the community to report any and all suspicious activities to 911 or call Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222 TIPS (8477). When you call Crime Stoppers your identity remains anonymous … and you can be paid for information that leads to an arrest.

Charged: Disturbance of the peace

Police arrested Demare A. Encarnacion, 27, of Estate Tutu at 8:10 a.m. on Aug. 7 and charged him with disturbance of the peace and reckless endangerment. Bond was set at $200.

Charged: Simple possession

Police arrested Kelsii C. Edwards, 26, of Contant at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 8 and charged her with simple possession. Bond was set at $1,000.

Charged: 3rd-degree assault

Police arrested Donte C. Joseph, 23, of Anna’s Retreat at 11:50 p.m. on Aug. 8 and charged him with third-degree assault. Bond was set at $25,000.

Charged: 1st-degree burglary

Police arrested Elieser Edwards, 19, of Paul M. Pearson Gardens at 8:10 a.m. on Aug. 10 and charged him with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, grand larceny from the person, use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and first-degree assault. Bond was set at $150,000.

Charged: Simple assault, domestic violence

Police arrested Demare A. Encarnacion, 27, of Anna’s Retreat at 1:55 a.m. on Aug. 14 and charged him with simple assault, domestic violence. No bond was set, per the territory’s domestic violence statute.

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23 Days Skylarking In Puerto Rico After Conviction Costs St. Croix Man An Extra 2.33 Years In Prison

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Croix man who went on a wild shootout near Sunny Isle Shopping Center and once convicted of that escapade, escaped from prison two days later, had an additional 2.33 years in prison tacked on to the time he will have to serve.

Nathaniel “Jahreek” Thomas, Jr., 30 of St. Croix, was sentenced today for escape from custody, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Wilma A. Lewis sentenced Thomas to 28 months of imprisonment consecutive to the federal sentence he is currently serving, and three years of supervised release.

Judge Lewis also ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment.

On March 19, Thomas pleaded guilty to escape from custody.

According to the plea agreement filed in court, on March 13, 2018, Thomas was convicted in March of 2018 of federal and local criminal charges, including felon in possession of a firearm; unauthorized possession of a firearm; and reckless endangerment in the first degree in the U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Division.

Upon his conviction, the federal judge remanded Thomas into custody pending sentencing.

The U.S. Marshal Service brought Thomas to the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix, where federal prisoners are detained pursuant to an agreement with the Attorney General of the United States.

On March 15, 2018, two days after being convicted by a federal jury, Thomas escaped from the Golden Grove facility with help from still unidentified Golden Grove Prison officials.

Following an extensive manhunt by federal and territorial law enforcement, Thomas was located in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on April 7, 2018 and taken into federal custody.

This case was investigated by the United States Marshal Service.

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry.

23 Days Skylarking In Puerto Rico After Conviction Costs St. Croix Man An Extra 2.33 Years In Prison
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St. Thomas’ Le’Quan Registe Guilty of Being A Marijuana Dealer

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A St. Thomas man went to trial and was convicted of being a marijuana dealer.

Le’Quan Registe, 25, of St. Thomas, was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana after a jury trial in U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

The jury trial lasted one day, commencing on April 29, 2019, with jury deliberations commencing and concluding on April 30, 2019.

Registe was acquitted of an additional charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of marijuana distribution.

According to trial testimony, on May 18, 2018, during a search of Registe’s vehicle, Virgin Islands Police Department officers located quantities of marijuana on the gear shift, on top of and underneath the front passenger seat, as well as in a backpack located on the backseat.

Police also located in the car $3,400 in a hidden compartment of the steering wheel, a police scanner, baggies, a digital scale, and a firearm.

After trial, Registe was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service.

Sentencing is set for August 29.

This case was investigated by the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD).

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meredith Edwards and George Andrew Massucco LaTaif .

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Nathaniel Thomas Jr. Faces Five Additional Years In Prison For Escape Last Year

CHRISTIANSTED – A St. Croix man admitted in federal court today that he willfully escaped from local custody and could have five additional years tacked onto the 23 years in prison he is already serving.

Nathaniel “Jahreek” Thomas, Jr., 29, of St. Croix, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Cannon, Jr. to escape from custody, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 18, according to Shappert.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court on March 13, 2018, the defendant was convicted of federal and local charges, including felon in possession of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment in the first degree in the District Court of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Division.

Upon his conviction, the U.S. District Court Judge remanded Thomas into custody pending sentencing.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service transported Thomas to the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility, where federal prisoners are detained pursuant to an agreement with the Attorney General of the United States.

On March 15, 2018, the defendant escaped from Golden Grove.

He was located by law enforcement agents in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on April 7, 2018 and was taken into custody.

Thomas faces a term of imprisonment of not more than five years and a fine of not more than $250,000 on his current charges.

He is currently serving a twenty-three year federal sentence for his previous federal convictions.

The two people who helped him escape from Golden Grove on St. Croix have never been brought to justice.

This case was investigated by the United States Marshal Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry.

Nathaniel Thomas Jr. Faces Five Additional Years In Prison For Escape Last Year



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St. Thomas Grandmother Arrested For False Imprisonment In Child Custody Case Saturday

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A grandmother has been arrested on St. Thomas for “false imprisonment” and related charges after an infant child left the U.S. mainland without permission in a custody matter.

Barbara Francis, 66, of Charlotte Amalie, has been charged with false imprisonment and interference with custody after being arrested by a U.S. Marshal about 11 a.m. on Saturday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Francis, who said on Facebook she is a former dental assistant at the Schneider Regional Medical Center, was wanted in connection with an arrest warrant issued in Orlando, Florida, according to social media and police sources.

The U.S. Marshal contacted the Virgin Islands Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit once Francis was in custody here, according to the VIPD.

The U.S. Marshal also said that a one-month-old girl had been taken into protective custody as well.

The infant girl was taken into protective custody by a social worker from the V.I. Department of Human Services.

The VIPD placed Francis under arrest about 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Criminal Investigation Bureau on St. Thomas per the Florida arrest warrant.

Ms. Francis was booked, processed, and turned over to the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

No bail was set as per the arrest warrant. Francis awaits extradition to Orlando, Florida.

St. Thomas Grandmother Arrested For False Imprisonment In Child Custody Case Saturday
MUG SHOT: VIPD photo of Barbara Francis
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FEDERAL AFFIDAVITS: Two People Helped Nathaniel Thomas Escape From Golden Grove in March

FEDERAL AFFIDAVITS: Two People Helped Nathaniel Thomas Escape From Golden Grove in March

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FREDERIKSTED — Convicted felon Nathaniel Thomas escaped from Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix in March with the help of two people, according to two affidavits filed in U.S. District Court.

Thomas, a.k.a. “Jahreek,” “J,” “Ringo” and “R,” was convicted on March 13 of unlawful possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

The charges come from him reportedly shooting at the occupants of a silver Ford Explorer at 4:26 a.m. May 15, 2016, at Diamond Crest Plaza on St. Croix. He has a prior marijuana-related felony which made it unlawful for him to possess a firearm.

On March 15, two days after his conviction, he escaped from Golden Grove prison on St. Croix and remained at large for several weeks, until his arrest in Ponce, Puerto Rico on April 7.

When he first went missing, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael Picou said Thomas apparently ran and managed to get through the fence around the facility, based on information provided him by V.I. Bureau of Corrections (BOC) officials. But Picou described a slightly different scenario in a March 16 affidavit.

“Information obtained from Golden Grove indicates that Thomas escaped the facility at 7:47 p.m. with the assistance of two unidentified individuals who entered the facility without authorization,” Picou wrote.

Another affidavit, filed by Deputy U.S. Marshal Gerald Messier, also says two unidentified people entered without authorization and helped him escape.

How unidentified individuals entered is unclear. Visitors to Golden Grove have to appear before a camera and glass window at the entrance, after which a guard unlocks the exterior door remotely. Once inside the main door, a guard has to again remotely unlock a second door to enter the facility. The only other way in or out would require going over, under or through a 10-foot-high chain link fence.

The court documents say only that there were two people helping and that they are unidentified.

https://vifreepress.com/2018/03/convicted-felon-nathaniel-thomas-faces-20-years-prison-gun-reckless-endangerment-incident/

https://vifreepress.com/2018/03/free-bird-nathaniel-jahreek-thomas-thumbs-nose-law-enforcement-aided-prison-escape/

https://vifreepress.com/2018/03/federal-authorities-urge-st-croix-public-take-look-new-photo-prison-escapee-nathaniel-thomas/

https://vifreepress.com/2018/04/two-wanted-st-croix-fugitives-arrested-in-ponce-by-u-s-marshals-service-on-saturday/nathaniel-thomas-2/

FEDERAL AFFIDAVITS: Two People Helped Nathaniel Thomas Escape From Golden Grove in March