A Johnson County grand jury returned multiple indictments on Wednesday, Feb. 16, including indictments against two Salyersville women charged with robbery by unlawful taking for “exerting control over… the money of ‘a loan account’ belonging to World Finance customers, according to court documents and Paintsville Police Department Capt. Jonathan Holbrook.
The couple, Bailey Burke, 33, and Stephanie Saylor, 45, both of Salyersville, were arrested around 6 a.m. on Thursday, February 17, after the grand jury returned the indictments.
According to the indictments, Burke and Saylor were charged with complicity with each other and three separate counts each, related to three separate loan accounts that the couple fraudulently took control of.
According to the documents, Saylor and Burke were charged with theft by unlawful taking (more than $1,000 but less than $10,000) with one offense allegedly occurring from April 7, 2021, another from February 12, 2021. and another from September. 28, 2020, totaling approximately $1,243, $1,741, and $1,741, respectively.
The documents indicated that on those dates, Saylor and Burke, acting alone or in complicity with each other, committed the offense by knowingly and unlawfully taking or exercising control over monies in the loan accounts. assigned to patrons, two of which belonged to a David Stambaugh, of Thelma, and one of which belonged to a Brett Reynolds, also of Thelma, with intent to benefit oneself or another not entitled to the money.
“I actually took over this investigation … in October or early November and we did a bunch of subpoenas and search warrants, we went through files and loans,” Holbrook said. “The girls actually told the district manager what they had done and wrote down a list of names they had done it to, but they left several. We got loans that people said weren’t theirs, and they applied payments to the delinquent loans, that way they could get their bonuses.
Holbrook said the pair were trying to “stay number one in the area.”
“They said they were trying to stay number one in the region or become number one in the region… I don’t know if they pocketed any money or what, but I can say they have took money and applied it to other people,” Holbrook said, saying the pair also released vehicle liens on accounts that hadn’t been paid. “They would return your vehicle and say the account had been refunded and they hadn’t even applied the money to the account.”
Holbrook said off the top of his head he could think of at least 20 separate incidents that had come to light through the investigation and that more charges were likely.
“I know they’ve already refunded over $15,000, and it’s an ongoing investigation,” Holbrook said. “
According to Holbrook, the couple are no longer employed at World Finance and the company cooperated to help uncover the fraud and redress the situation with the victims.
“They did their part, they got rid of those two employees, or they quit, I don’t know exactly, but they’re no longer employed there,” Holbrook said. “They’ve confessed quite a lot, but there’s still a lot they haven’t confessed to, and that’s what we need to find out. Like I said, they’ve already refunded more than 15 $000 to take care of some of the accounts that they fraudulently renewed or didn’t apply payments to or whatever their scheme was there were signatures that, I had people come in and I I let them look, and they were like, “That’s not my signature,” or there were a lot of things that I compared to IDs.
There are many more incidents involved in the situation, Holbrook said, but 20 or more accounts had already been refunded, and the PPD is looking for those who believe they have been defrauded to come forward. Holbrook, however, warned that if there were any false statements made in the hope of fraudulently canceling their loan, they would also be prosecuted for that.
“If anyone thinks there are issues with their accounts, they can contact the dispatcher and the dispatcher will take their information and I’ll get back to them and we’ll review their accounts with them and see if we can’t do it. good ones,” Holbrook said. “That’s also the thing, there might be people who have a legitimate loan and think they’re going to pay it back. It’s not going to happen. If they say that and get their loan back, they will be held accountable for that as well.
What makes the case frustrating for him, Holbrook said, is that he felt Saylor and Burke were targeting vulnerable people, like young people who might not be in very good financial health and the elderly. and disabled.
“A lot of people didn’t know that and, to be honest, they were targeting, in my opinion, a certain group of people, like young people, old people and people with disabilities, so people who were more or less vulnerable. I’m not saying not that there aren’t other people they’ve targeted, but I’ve noticed a kind of pattern,” Holbrook said, adding that the situation has caused enormous damage to people who were doing business with World Finance.” It’s frustrating. Some of these people, you know, have a certain amount of money to live on in a month and they think their loan is paid off and it’s not. So they had to step in and it hurt a lot of people and affected a lot of people.
“In fact, a person came to me and we looked at his account, and he had gone to buy a new vehicle and it was on his credit report, and it almost stopped him from buying that vehicle,” said continued Holbrook. “They had issued his lien release and said his account had been paid and it had not. They didn’t find the money where it should have gone.
Holbrook said he wanted to thank PPD Chief Mike Roe and District 2 Constable Bruce Ritz, as well as PPD Sergeant Ramey, who originally opened the investigation, for their assistance in working on the case and obtaining mandates, and the district director of World Finance. , who made the files available for the investigation.
There could be a large amount of fraud in this ongoing investigation, Holbrook said, and he would be comfortable saying there would be more charges.
“I would be comfortable saying there could be more, you have to think about the number of payments and loans received over the past two years. They have files upon files and we keep going through them…it’s a lot of work because some of these files are 400 to 500 pages and I’m trying to go through five to 10 files a day,” says Holbrook. “It’s overwhelming, but we’ll sort it all out and take care of it.”
Theft by unlawful taking worth more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 is a Class D felony, which means the couple could serve between one and five years in prison and could face a maximum fine of $10,000 for each charge, if convicted.
Both men were taken to Big Sandy Regional Detention Center on the morning of Thursday, February 17 and released at around 8:30 a.m., with court dates set for April 18 in both cases.
If you suspect fraud has affected your account at World Finance’s Paintsville location, contact Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Dispatch by phone at (606) 789-2260.