JONESBORO (KTVE/KARD) — Former Jackson Parish Deputy Cody Cheatwood, his wife and Hospital Human Resource Director Elizabeth Cheatwood, Payroll Clerk Vickie Booker and Pharmacy Director Aaron Nash were all arrested Monday, facing charges ranging from theft to conspiracy to drug distribution.
Louisiana State Police arrest warrants and affidavits obtained by KTVE/KARD paint a picture of what they think happened.
From January 2009 to December 2014, the documents claim Booker stole $56,131.38 from the hospital and Mrs. Cheatwood stole $99,451.30.
Investigators claim they did it by selling Accrued Time Off (ATO), not applying payroll deductions for uniforms and manually adjusting their own payroll deductions.
A closer look was then taken on Mrs. Cheatwood and Nash.
According to arrest warrants, sources inside the hospital told troopers Nash was giving unlabeled stock bottles of medication to fellow employees for free without a prescription. Affidavits claim some of these bottles were kept in a cabinet above a sink inside the pharmacy.
The State Police documents read Nash told investigators he had filled numerous prescriptions for medications without a valid prescription. They also show he told investigators he talked to Booker about Mrs. Cheatwood getting the medications for free. Nash claimed Booker said if he ever tried to make her pay she would just wipe off of the books.
Arrest warrants read Mrs. Cheatwood received medications for free from Nash, including Neurontin, Omeprazole and Cialis she said was for her husband, which brings the case to the sheriff’s office, which handed the investigation to State Police when their deputy’s wife became a suspect.
“Certainly be a conflict of interest, so they needed to handle it,” Jackson Parish Sheriff Andy Brown told KTVE/KARD.
Between August 2012 and April 2014, the arrest warrant claims Mrs. Cheatwood took 14 bottles of Cialis totaling $2,000 in value for her husband.
Arrest warrants show Mr. Cheatwood telling investigators the medicine was for nerve pain in his back and heart health conditions. He also told investigators as far as he knew, his wife had paid for the medications.
In January, Sheriff Brown said he confronted his deputy.
“I hate it that somebody from this department ended up arrested,” he said. “I called Cody in and told him: ‘This is a job of public trust and if there’s a possibility you’re going to be charged, you can’t work here anymore.”
Mr. Cheatwood chose to retire in January. Brown told KTVE/KARD whether he received any retirement benefits before being arrested is not under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s office.
All four suspects posted their bonds the same day they were arrested.
Sheriff Brown told KTVE/KARD their bonds were originally higher.
“Attorneys that represent these individuals filed motions with the judges to lower that,” he said.
Attorney letters obtained by KTVE/KARD requested the bonds be lower because the suspects weren’t a “flight risk.”
Mr. Cheatwood’s went from $220,000 to $10,000.
Mrs. Cheatwood’s lowered from $315,000 to $20,000.
Nash’s bond was $24,000 and it was knocked down to $5,000 and Booker’s was taken down to $10,000.
2nd Judicial District judges agreed to sign off on the reductions.
Sheriff Brown told KTVE/KARD the next step for the four suspects will be their arraignments which are expected to take place within the next 30 days.