BY KEN LITTLE
A man described by investigators as one of the main players in a scheme to defraud Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Co. did not go easily when taken into custody last week, sheriff's Deputy Nakia Tweed said in a report.
Jeffrey Wayne Brobeck, 29, of 4270 107 Cutoff, was sought on an arrest warrant for theft over $60,000 and several counts of violation of probation when deputies went to the 107 Cutoff house on Dec. 5.
A woman there, Lashanda Marie Schofield, was seen in a rear driveway.
"As I was exiting my police cruiser, the offender ran to the rear of a car and shut the trunk lid of the vehicle," Deputy Nakia Tweed said in a report.
Schofield told deputies that Brobeck had fled on foot into a field next to the home.
"Brobeck was found hiding in the trunk of the vehicle that the offender had closed," the report said.
Schofield was charged with being an accessory after the fact. Her first General Sessions Court appearance was on Dec. 6.
Brobeck was additionally charged with evading arrest, and was to appear Dec. 6 in General Sessions Court on that charge.
SUSPECT IN SCHEME
Brobeck is among 25 suspects in the alleged embezzlement last year of about $580,000 from Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
An investigation began in December 2012 by the Greeneville Police Department also involved the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. It resulted in the indictments last month.
About five suspects have not been taken into custody, although a few are in rehabilitation facilities or jailed elsewhere, authorities said.
The alleged offenses occurred between March and December 2012, according to indictments. On Dec. 18, 2012, Greeneville police "were notified of a theft believed to be approximately $580,000," Greeneville police Detective Lt. David Crum said.
Investigators said one or more defendants prepared Farmers Mutual checks that were cashed at local banks by others who were not customers or associated with the insurance company.
Brobeck allegedly cashed checks for the biggest amount of money, Crum said.
FORMER EMPLOYEE CHARGED
Among others recently charged was former Farmers Mutual employee Patty Jo Cogdill-Good, 45, of 450 Clear Creek Road, Chuckey. She was indicted on a charge of theft of property valued at more than $60,000.
Good is free on $100,000 bond.
Her daughter Shellcie Good, 23, of the Chuckey address, is also charged with theft over $60,000. She was arrested Nov. 20.
Patty Good is the daughter-in-law of Willie Good, retired secretary/treasurer of the Greene County Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Shellcie Good is his granddaughter.
Willie Good, a longtime former Greene County commissioner, is not charged in connection with the scheme and is not involved in the investigation, authorities said.
Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Co. remains financially sound, Greenville lawyer and company spokesman Roger Woolsey said last week.
"Everybody's in good shape. The policies remain in effect," he said, while acknowledging that no one "wants to accept this kind of loss."
Most of the defendants in the case have March 31 appearances scheduled in Greene County Criminal Court.