As recently as January 5th, Historic City News responded to tips from our readers and members of the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, telling us that Sergeant Robert Gober III had been misappropriating funds from the local Police Athletic League where he served as Executive Director.
Tonight, Commander Chuck Mulligan announced that investigators with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Office of State Attorney R. J. Larizza, have completed an investigation into the financial activities of Sergeant Gober using cash and a debit card that are the property of PAL.
“After investigating the facts of this case and finding that criminal probable cause existed, the findings were forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office; currently, there is one count of organized scheme to defraud pending their review,” said Sheriff David B. Shoar. “Sadly, this is not the first time we have had to charge one of our own with a crime, or separate a member from the agency.”
Gober was also relieved of his position with the Police Athletic League, according to Commander Mulligan.
Today’s announcement reveals that the agency began their investigation into Gober a few months ago; after learning that employees were concerned about possible discrepancies in accounting for PAL funds.
The investigation revealed numerous questionable charges ranging from hotel rooms for PAL trips, gift cards, and dinners where alcohol was served to a limited and select number of volunteers. It was further learned that Sergeant Gober was collecting funds from event registrations and concession stand purchases without validating the amounts of money, before making documented and undocumented expenditures.
The criminal investigation revealed that Gober had purchased items for personal use in the amount of $1,302.89 due to his use of a PAL debit card. Some of the purchased items included sunglasses, a vehicle repair bill, bike repairs, and tickets to a NBA basketball game, fantasy football league purchases and custom made calendars.
“The Police Athletic League in St. Johns County has been one of the best programs the Sheriff’s Office has ever been involved with,” Sheriff Shoar said, defending his decision to support the autonomous program with agency resources. “It is a cost-effective sports program for our youth and has been a positive influence for several decades.”