Thank you Rep. Mike Cheokas
I would like to publicly thank Rep. Mike Cheokas. When I worked at Sumter Youth Development Campus Rep. Mike Cheokas would come out and visit with the adjudicated youth. Rep Cheokas would often play Chess with these adjudicated young men.
The first week of February Rep Mike Cheokas provided an opportunity for two young people, Madison and Jake Hall,to be pages at the capitol.Rep. Mike Cheokas was quite the host to these two young people.
Since my retirement I was facing some concerns with a state agency and spent many hours attempting to resolve this concern. I contacted Rep. Mike Cheokas concerning this matter and he assisted in resolving this matter.
State politicians are elected by the voters and represent these voters. am proud to have Rep. Mike Cheokas as my representative.
ID theft not a crime in Middle Ga.
My enjoyment of this past holiday season came to a screeching halt the day after Christmas when checking my bank account I found some unfamiliar charges. Once I got home from out of town, I went through all of my recent receipts to be sure this charge had not simply slipped my mind. I called my bank, and they were able to give me the 800 number of the company where this mysterious order had been placed. It was an ECCO shoe company. Upon calling, this company not only agreed to refund my money but they also were able to contact FedEx/UPS and stop the order from being delivered. They also gave me every single detail about the order — from the name and address on the account to the product and size — so that I could report this to law enforcement.
Being a part of the technology generation, I Googled the person who had allegedly made this fraudulent transaction. This person came up on many websites ranging from social media to university sites. Information that I found to be interesting was (1) although she was living in Athens, she was also listed in a public directory of Stone Mountain. I had been in Stone Mountain earlier in December for a conference. (2) On Facebook, we had a mutual friend who happened to have been in Stone Mountain with me at that same time. I took note of all information gathered and headed to Fort Valley Police Department.
A Detective Marberry took my statement (Thurs, Dec 27) but said that cases like these could takes weeks even months. Since the product was being sent to Athens, I also contacted the Athens Clarke County Police Dept. The detective who handled out-of-town cases would be out until Jan 2, so I waited until then to call back. When I did, I filed with Detective Duranso who seemed very optimistic that they would be able to handle this. He was even able to send me copy of the police report by the end of that week. This was the end of my “help” from law enforcement. I have only heard from him one time since then. Although I call weekly and leave messages, my calls are never returned.
When I called FVPD (Fri, Jan 11), I got an “Oh yeah, you’re located in the county, so you’re going to have to file this report with the sheriff’s dept.” It baffled me that this info was only revealed after I called 2 weeks after the initial report was filed. Pam Lundy with Peach County Sherriff’s Dept took my statement and renewed my faith in finding answers. However, once the assigned investigator called me that following Monday, my doubt and frustration returned. Investigator Edwards informed me that nothing much would be able to happen since my money had been returned. He even suggested that I ask the mutual Facebook friend if he had stolen my debit card information. Weird, I thought that was what the police investigation was for.
I phoned my cousin (an attorney) and she recommended I contact the county district attorney to see why criminal charges could not be filed. After all, wasn’t it still a crime in the U.S. to use someone else’s money and identity for yourself without their permission?
I waited a bit before calling the Peach County District Attorney’s office. I wanted to give Investigator Edwards some time to actually investigate. When I called about a week later, I asked if he’d been able to get the already-filed report from Marberry at FVPD. He said no. I asked when he called FVPD, so that I could talk to Marberry and see what the holdup was. Edwards answered, “OH, no, I hadn’t called them yet. I was waiting on you to call and have them to send the info to me.” Huh? was what flew out of my mouth. This was contrary to what he had just said. He also added that (1) these things took time and mine was not the only case he had (2) I should’ve just asked the guy if he stole my information (3) He wouldn’t be able to file a report because the crime really took place in Stone Mountain. Uhmm, how did he know this if he had not yet begun investigating? And again, the statement that threw me the most was him responding, “You got your money back, so the courts will look at it as if no crime was committed.” I asked him if that meant that I could take money from his wallet or his car from the lot, bring it back, and no charges be filed since it had been returned. His answer, “No, that’s different.”
I called the Peach County DA (Tues, Jan 22) and was told that charges could, in fact, be brought and that individual charged. She gave me the number to the person over the investigators at PCSD. Of course, I received no answer and no response to the message I left.
According to the Official Code of Georgia, identity theft is a felony in Georgia. Based on my experience however, the term “felony” has a different meaning in middle Georgia and this area is seemingly exempt from such state legislation. This entire process has been going on over six weeks and has left me upset and frustrated. I am unsure of any next steps. Where do you turn when the ones meant to protect and serve refuse to do so?
(I am) neither protected nor served.
Thank you Rep. Mike Cheokas
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