JONESVILLE - A Lee County Sheriff's Department investigator was recently recognized by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association for his role in a lengthy investigation that landed 17 individuals behind bars on charges ranging from arson and insurance fraud to drug and firearms violations.
Lt. Fred Rouse, an 11-year veteran of the LCSD, was among a group recognized with the Honorable Mention Group Achievement Award, given at a ceremony in Baltimore on Feb. 1, for an arson case that involved the Robert Lee Scott family of Ewing, said Sheriff Gary Parsons.
Parsons said Rouse initiated the original investigation in the spring of 2003 when the department received information of prescription fraud occurring in Lee County. Rouse soon identified Robert Bradley Scott, the son of Robert Lee Scott, as the individual behind the fraudulent prescription activity. Further investigation led to information that the younger Scott was involved with the arson of a medical office in Middlesboro, Ky. It was also learned that the family and a number of others were involved in federal firearms offenses, insurance fraud and the illegal distribution of narcotics.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives became involved with the investigation in January 2004, and eventually 17 individuals were indicted, pleaded guilty and were sentenced in federal court on various drug charges, insurance frauds, federal firearms violations, property crimes and arson, said the sheriff.
The insurance fraud cases involved approximately $1 million over a 20-year period, Parsons said.
"I am proud to have an officer that is being recognized nationally. This shows the rest of the state - and the country, for that matter - what professional officers we have here in Lee County. I am also very proud of Officer Rouse, who exemplifies the attributes of a professional investigator. Lt. Rouse is an example of the professionalism in the investigator's office and in our department, so I commend him for getting this recognition," said Parsons.
The investigation revealed that Bradley Scott had stolen prescription pads from a Kentucky doctor's office and that he used a network of people in three states to obtain drugs, which they sold and shared the profits. When the group realized they were being investigated, they burned the medical office in an attempt to cover their tracks. As the investigation expanded, it was discovered that Robert Lee Scott was involved in a number of insurance fraud cases including the burning of his home, vandalizing his home for insurance, burning vehicles, filing false medical claims and other crimes.
Bradley Scott was sentenced to nearly 15 years in prison, Robert Scott was sentenced to 6Â½ years in prison, and 15 others were found guilty and given sentences ranging from nearly five years to fines and/or probation.
Rouse joined the LCSD in August 1993 as a road deputy. He left the department in June 1998 to work briefly in the federal prison system before working about a year as the fraud investigator for the Lee County Department of Social Services. He returned to the sheriff's department in August 2000, again as a road deputy. In August 2002 he was promoted to sergeant and to the position of investigator. About a year later he was promoted to lieutenant. He was named the department's Officer of the Year for 2006.
"It was nice to get the recognition, and being from such a small area, it is especially nice to get national recognition," said Rouse. "Even though I got personal recognition, there were a lot of other people behind the scenes that worked just as hard and diligently on these cases, and they deserve the same honor."