A Dothan police officer, who has now resigned, faces multiple felony charges alleging credit card fraud and identity theft.
Dothan Police Sgt. Maurice “Mac” Eggleston said police investigators arrested Charles Thomas Simmer, charging him with four felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and felony identity theft.
Eggleston said Simmer, 27, of Sweetwater Drive, was a Dothan police officer at the time of his arrest, but has now resigned from serving as an officer with the Dothan Police Department.
According to a police statement, the charges stemmed from an investigation which revealed Simmer allegedly obtained the identities of multiple people while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and used the information to open credit card accounts in their names.
The investigation started in January when Simmer filed a report, which listed him as a victim of identity theft. While investigating the complaint it was discovered Simmer allegedly committed the criminal offenses between June 2014 and March 2015.
If convicted of any of the class C felony charges, Simmer faces one to 10 years in prison.
Court records show the identity theft charge alleged Simmer obtained goods or services through the use of identifying information from a USAA credit card belonging to a Montana man on Feb. 10.
Records also show three of the credit card charges alleged Simmer used a USAA Mastercard belonging to the same Montana man to make purchases at Wal-Mart. Records show the purchases ranged from $30 to $243.
Simmer was taken to the Houston County Jail on Thursday and held on bail totaling $90,000.
Dothan Police Maj. Steve Parrish said the charges came after he received a call last week from USAA. According to the USAA website, it’s a credit card, insurance and banking company, which offers its services to members of the U.S. military and their families. Parrish said the company wanted to report a possible fraud allegedly involving Simmer.
Parrish suggested the filing of an official police report, and made all assurances the report would be investigated.
“Through the course of the investigation it was determined Officer Simmer defrauded USAA Bank,” Parrish said. “In one of the instances he took a substantial amount of money off a credit card through USAA bank while he was on military leave out of state. Then he reported his identity compromised, they flagged it and notified us and we investigated it.”
Parrish said in at least one of the offenses Simmer allegedly received a cash advance of around $3,000 off a credit card and then reported the account compromised. Parrish said more charges are likely in the ongoing investigation.
“Conduct of this nature is unacceptable and intolerable for a police officer. It is an embarrassment to the agency. Simmer tendered his resignation, but would have certainly been terminated,” Parrish said. “What’s important to the public is they realize we take a very proactive position when it comes to our officers breaking the law they swear to uphold.”
Parrish said Simmer was what’s referred to as a probationary police officer, which meant he’d been an officer with the department for less than a year.
“He had not long ago graduated from the police academy,” Parrish said. “He had been a solo officer for about a month. He was on one of the night shifts.”