Businessman arrested on fraud charges

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

"The sad thing is, he seems like an intelligent fellow. If he had done a legitimate business he probably could have done well."

That was the way Ironton Police Sgt. Jim Carey assessed the arrest Tuesday of Ironton businessman Charlie Jenkins.

Jenkins, 35, is coowner of Buckeye Public Safety Equipment. He is charged with three counts of fraud on a felony warrant from Florida in connection with an alleged credit card scheme. He was arrested Tuesday near his residence in Coal Grove after a brief police pursuit.

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"We received calls from people all over the United States who had done business in the past with Buckeye Public Safety. The complaint was that they had made purchases in the past but now they were finding unauthorized charges on their credit cards. We started investigating," Carey said.

"It appears he has gone back into the histories on the computer and obtained credit card numbers and had money wired to an account at a local bank and then had that money transferred to his personal account at another local bank."

Authorities do not yet know how much money was allegedly taken in this fashion but suspect it could be substantial. One company in California has claimed it lost between $35,000 and $40,000.

"Right now I know of six personal complaints and I'm trying to account for 72 transactions," Carey said.

The alleged illegal activity took place between February and early March.

The three fraud charges in Florida stem from Jenkins' alleged acquisition of more than one Florida drivers licenses under assumed names.

"He used the name Charles Walter Jenkins, Andrew Jenkins. He used, I think, about seven different Social Security numbers and at least two names," Carey said.

Jenkins is expected to appear today for an extradition hearing in Ironton Municipal Court. He remains in the Lawrence County Jail.

Carey said he will be charged here with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. It is not yet known if he will face charges in other states besides Ohio and Florida.

Buckeye Public Safety Equipment, Inc., sells new and used emergency services equipment locally and across the country via the Internet. Less than a year ago, an employee of that business, Kyle Shope was arrested after stealing more than $30,000 in equipment from his employers and then reselling it to local emergency agencies.