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Lehigh fire commissioner faces new charges

June 30, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A Lehigh Acres fire commissioner once again found himself behind bars on Wednesday on new charges unrelated to his arrest back in August.

Robert John Anderson, 51, of 1147 Cherokee Ave., was arrested and charged with larceny grand theft $300 less than $5,000 and fraud swindle obtain property under $20,000, according to jail records.

He has since been released from the Lee County Jail on $10,000 bond.

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Robert John Anderson

Anderson was elected to Seat 3 on the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District's Board of Commissioners in the November election. His term is scheduled to expire in November 2020.

Last August, Anderson was charged with larceny grand theft $300 less than $5,000 for reportedly stealing five riding lawn movers from a Habitat for Humanity, at 31 Willis Road, North Fort Myers.

His trial for the 2016 arrest is scheduled to begin on July 13.

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According to the new arrest report, Anderson fraudulently obtained nearly $2,600.

Richard Anglickis, the owner of Heritage Group of Affiliated Companies, filed a sworn statement on Feb. 6 with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. He stated that starting in January 2015, Anderson began a systematic embezzlement of his corporate funds from the general checking accounts of his company.

"He forged checks and cashed them, and paid personal bills, electric, water, and did it for almost a year," Anglickis said in a phone interview on Thursday. "It is what it is."

According to the report, Anderson was hired for technical support. He had access to the company's office and computer accounts as he provided tech support for the telephones, computers and operating systems. Anderson also provided services for operations of the telemarketing and robocall business.

Anglickis noted that Anderson, however, did not have permission to access any financial accounts. Anderson's access allowed him to come and go as needed, often before and after business hours.

According to the report, Anglickis discovered a shortage of funds in October 2016, which promoted him to conduct an account audit. Unauthorized charges were found and it was discovered that Anderson paid for his personal accounts to Comcast, Go Daddy, LCEC and FGUA using the company account.

Anglickis is the only authorized user on the account.

In total, Anderson allegedly used it to pay $472.10 to Comcast and $1,795.97 to LCEC for services rendered at 1147 Cherokee Ave. - his home address. Anderson also reportedly deposited a fraudulent check from the business in the amount of $328, bringing the total fraudulent activities to $2,596.07.

"Anglickis confirmed that Anderson did not have permission to access any financial accounts and most definitely did not have permission to pay his personal bills with the (account)," the report states.

Anglickis explained that nothing shocks him about Anderson at this point.

"I'd be shocked, but this is the second time he's been arrested," he said on Thursday. "You have to worry about a guy who's elected to a public office like that and has no morals."

Anglickis is the president of the Lehigh Acres Community Council. He has served as president of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce and Lehigh Acres Jaycee Foundation, as well as has served on the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

If found guilty of a felony, Anderson would be removed from office under state law.

The grand theft charge he faces in the 2016 case is a third-degree felony.

According to the warrant, detectives "discovered that the six lawn mowers were donated by the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District to the Habitat for Humanity and to be used by them only. Five of the lawn mowers were then under false pretenses, surreptitiously removed by Anderson for the sole purpose of depriving the victim (Habitat for Humanity) of the right and/or benefit of the property. At no time was Anderson given permission to or entitled to appropriate the five lawn mowers for his personal use and by removing them from the Habitat for Humanity store committed a grand theft."

Anderson did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment on the new charges.

If was unknown as of press time if he had retained an attorney.

 
 

 

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