"Dead man" pleads guilty to attempted fraud in Fairfax
Rodney Newsome, whose last court case in Fairfax was dismissed when the judge was informed he had died, pleaded guilty Monday morning to an unrelated case of attempted fraud, committed seven months after his alleged passing.
His request to be released on bond was then summarily rejected by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Marcus D. Williams.
Newsome, 38, pleaded guilty in 2007 to attempted fraud, but in 2008 his lawyer told the court that Newsome had undergone brain surgery and was in a coma. Two doctor's notes were presented to the court indicating that Newsome was in a vegetative state. In May 2009, lawyer George Freeman submitted a form from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene indicating that Newsome had died on May 23, 2009.
A spokesman for the Maryland health department said the form, while not a death certificate, was a genuine form widely available in any facility affiliated with the state health department. He declined to comment on the specifics of the Newsome form.
Because of his death, the case against Newsome was dismissed. Fairfax Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Ian M. Rodway, who previously requested a warrant for Newsome because he had "arisen from the dead," said Monday he would file a motion to reopen the case because Newsome had committed a fraud on the court
In other fraud news, a man walked into a BB&T Bank branch in Oakton in December with a check stolen from a check-cashing store in Warrenton, prosecutors said. The man opened up a new account for $4,500, and a short time later tried to withdraw cash from the account. That request was denied, and Newsome was arrested in February for attempted fraud.
In their investigation of the case, Newsome's death was not uncovered by Fairfax police or prosecutors. For his part, Newsome showed up for each of his court appearances in the new case. He even changed one court date after it was set, and showed up for that one too.
But after his indictment last month, a Fairfax court clerk noticed Newsome's name and recalled dismissing his prior case due to his death. She notified Fairfax prosecutors, and at his next court date, he was taken into custody.
On Monday, Newsome pleaded guilty to attempted fraud in the most recent case. And his lawyer, Lavonda Graham-Williams, continued to maintain that Newsome was a victim of someone's else's legal shenanigans. She asked Judge Williams to release him because "we need to be able to investigate that."
Graham-Williams said that Newsome was "very curious to get to the bottom of this. He's just as much a victim as the court is."
-- Tom Jackman
June 7, 2010; 12:55 PM ET
Categories: Cons & Scams , Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Tom Jackman , Updates
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