May 31, 2019
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has placed Insurance Fraud charges on seven inmates at the Bay County Jail after a review of video and an investigation into claims they were suffering from a toxic chemical exposure proved unfounded.
On May 23rd, 2019, construction work within one of the pods within the jail required all inmates housed in the pod be moved temporarily outside to a recreation area. It was learned that during this time work crews on the roof of the jail that were preparing the roof for repair work accidentally spilled about a quart of cleaning liquid on the roof that mixed with water from air conditioning units, and drained out a gutter onto the ground in the recreation area. Seven inmates began to complain of reactions about 10 minutes after the cleaning solution was spilled. The inmates were brought inside and the seven who complained of a reaction were allowed to take a shower.
The seven inmates were complaining of continuous reactions in the eyes and on their skin and were brought into a small room near the Pod. Jail medical staff was summoned to the room. Each inmate was examined and then allowed to file an insurance complaint with the county.
An investigation into the incident was conducted. It was learned by examining video taken of the seven inmates in the small room that, while the corrections officer was outside the door asking for medical to come to the room, one of the inmates had collected the cleaning solution into a Mountain Dew bottle.
On video the inmate pulls the hidden bottle from the waist band of his pants and the rest of the inmates in the room pour some of the liquid in their hands and intentionally put it on their skin, in their eyes, or ingest it prior to the medical examination.
Some documented conversation between the inmates during their time in the small room included these comments:
11:20:20 "Don’t all come over here at one time." (Inmates walking to trash can.)
11:20:27 "Share it between everybody." (As inmate is dumping the substance in their hands.)
11:21:41 "I was the collector." (Inmate raises his hand.)
11:22:13 "Us right here in this room is gonna get paid." (Same inmate that raised his hand.)
11:32:10 "This is what I say, everybody gets paid." and “Say we get $20,000 or $50,000 we donate $5,000 to the people that can't have legal mail."
11:36:23 First inmate: "I hope this doesn't have any long term effects."
Second inmate: "It can't be worse than all the dope we were smoking out there." (All inmates laughing.)
11:50:27 "When I get outta here I'm going straight to my lawyers office."
When interviewed, four of the seven inmates admitted to placing the solution on their person in order to file the insurance claim with the county. It was also learned that two other inmates had collected the chemical in plastic bottles. A search within the pod turned up the bottles of solution.
“I am very proud of the work our investigators have done on this incident, both at the Bay County Jail and Criminal Investigations,” Sheriff Tommy Ford said. “We will not allow these inmates to take advantage of the taxpaying citizens of Bay County.”
Those charged with Insurance Fraud were Steven Floyd Clemons, Jr, age 39, James Cooper, age 38, Joshua Fate Bagley, Jr., age 33, Anthony Goodwin, age 27, James “Freddie” Seaborn, age 37, Daniel Joseph Edwards, age 27, and J. Michael Pennington, age 31. The two others who collected the cleaning solution/water mix were Terrance Scales, age 39, and Christopher Hardison, age 37. They were charged with Introduction of Contraband.
Prepared by R. Corley
Information by Sheriff T. Ford/ Inv. J. Turner
Approved by Sheriff T. Ford