Monday, February 27, 2017

Oklahoma security company owner accused of posing as retired U.S. marshal

EL RENO OK Feb 27 2017 — A Piedmont man claimed for years he had once been a U.S. marshal, sworn in on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing to collect evidence for the FBI, investigators say.
At a bank security job, Randall Aaron Yount wore a U.S. Marshals Service badge, a gun and T-shirts with "Federal Agent" on the front. He said he "medically retired" in 2003.
Investigators say it was all a lie.
Yount, 59, now is charged with one felony count of obtaining cash by false pretenses and two misdemeanor counts of impersonating a police officer. Canadian County prosecutors allege Yount falsely claimed to be a retired U.S. marshal to obtain private security jobs.
"It's wrong, it's untruthful, it's a crime, all those things, but to me, what I think is the most reprehensible is that a guy would attempt to steal the honor of those who earned it,” Canadian County Sheriff Chris West told The Oklahoman last week. “To pose and to try to steal that title is a huge insult to the men and women who do so legitimately.”
Yount also was featured in various 2015 news stories for his "Active Shooter" training workshop through Oklahoma City Community College.
In April 2015, Yount's private security company was hired by the president of the Great Plains National Bank in Piedmont. The bank president said he immediately hired Yount because he believed he was a retired U.S. marshal, sheriff's office Lt. Marc Crawford reported in a court affidavit.
"Fake badge ... real gun"
“He's walking around with a fake badge on his hip and a real gun,” said Crawford, who is a retired 26-year veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The bank president said Yount presented business cards that stated he was a retired U.S. marshal. Yount wore T-shirts with "POLICE," "U.S. Marshal" or "Federal Agent" across the front while working at the bank, according to the affidavit.
Yount wore body armor on certain days, claiming he had received "High Alerts" from law enforcement about the bank possibly being robbed, according to the affidavit. He also brought a rifle into the bank for extra protection, according to the affidavit.
Yount had magnetic U.S. marshal badges on the front doors of a vehicle he drove, according to the affidavit. His front vehicle tag said, "Chief of Police Great Plains National Bank," the lieutenant reported. One bank teller reported seeing red and blue emergency lights on his vehicle.
Another teller reported Yount would brag about receiving free meals at a nearby McDonald's "because he was a police officer," according to the affidavit.
Multiple bank employees said Yount told them he responded to the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the lieutenant reported. Yount claimed he was involved in arresting bomber Timothy McVeigh and was one of the marshals seen on TV escorting him after the arrest, according to the affidavit.
Yount also told stories about getting shot as a U.S. marshal, according to the affidavit. Yount claimed he "medically retired" from the U.S. Marshals Service in 2003 from the Denver, Colo., office, the lieutenant reported.
“He lied to those people in Piedmont. He has defrauded that bank and they took him for what he was and they believed him," Crawford said.
Between April 2015 and June, the bank paid more than $50,000 to Yount's company, Target Safety, for bank security services, according to prosecutors.
The investigation into Yount began in June after Crawford was contacted by a Canadian County deputy sheriff who was working for Yount's company at the time. The deputy sheriff told Crawford that Yount had information related to a double homicide and needed to find out who to contact.
“Things didn't add up," Crawford said. "He was asking for information ... that a true marshal would have known."
Crawford confronted Yount, who said he was working as a state park ranger in 1995 and was at the Oklahoma City federal building moments after the bombing, according to the affidavit.
Yount claimed that while he was collecting evidence a U.S. marshal stopped him and swore him in on the streets, according to the affidavit. Yount said he was assigned to the FBI's Evidence Recovery Team as a U.S. marshal, the lieutenant reported.
Crawford reported Yount couldn't provide any proof that he was a retired U.S. marshal. The U.S. Marshals Service reported there is no record of Yount and no record he was ever granted special deputation or issued a law enforcement badge, according to the affidavit.
During more questioning, Yount said he is not a licensed or CLEET certified security officer and that his company did not have a security license, according to the affidavit.
Crawford reported Yount does have some law enforcement and security background. Yount was a patrolman for the Enid Police Department for about eight months in the early 1980s. For about two months in 1995, Yount was a park ranger for the state Tourism Department, starting his employment a few days before the Oklahoma City bombing, according to the affidavit.
Yount also worked various security jobs in the 1990s.
From August 2014 to January 2016, Yount was a contracted safety instructor for OCCC's Professional Development Institute. During that time, Yount taught "non-college credit" safety classes, according to a school spokesman.
Yount claimed on his LinkedIn account that he was an adjunct professor for OCCC. The spokesman said Yount has never been an employee at the school.
Yount currently is out of jail on bond. He did not return recent phone messages.

If convicted of all three counts, Yount could be sentenced to up to three years in custody and fined $1,200.

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