Cop arrested in Abraham Shakespeare case

I wrote earlier about the disappearance last spring of jackpot lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare. Well, the police have made an arrest in his case, and it’s one of their own, a twenty-year veteran of the Lakeland Police Department. There’s a press release about it.

The story isn’t as exciting as it appeared from the headlines: the cop in question is only charged with taking bribes from DeeDee Moore, the main suspect in Shakespeare’s disappearance, and providing her with confidential information from law enforcement databases. She gave him license plate numbers and he gave her information about the car owners. So far, anyway, it looks like the officer, Troy Young, wasn’t involved in Shakespeare’s actual disappearance.

What strikes me about this: this article says Moore gave “a $200 check to Young and bought a roundtrip ticket for his daughter to travel from Texas to Florida.” That seems like an awfully pitiful bribe to me, seeing as how Young supposedly committed a felony and also risked his job (and a nice civil servant’s pension) for this woman. What an idiot. But this doesn’t seem like an idiot — another article says his “dedication to his job has earned him 16 awards and commendations” since he joined the department in 1990.

Was there something more, I wonder? Not necessarily money — maybe Young and Moore were involved romantically or what? Guys tend to go kind of insane when it comes to women they’re sleeping with. Or maybe Young really didn’t see it as that big a deal. Maybe he thought: I’m just looking up a couple of license plate numbers is all, she’s hardly asking me to destroy evidence or help someone escape from jail.

Well, whatever there was between Officer Young and Dee Dee Moore, I’m sure that by now he’s quite sorry he ever met her.

Be careful of your friends: the case of Abraham Shakespeare

I have been following with great interest the disappearance and probable murder of Abraham Shakespeare, who’s been missing since around April. He’s gotten more media attention than any missing black man that I know of. He was already somewhat famous before his disappearance because he won $31 million in the lottery back in 2006. At the time of his lottery win, he was completely broke — he claims the day he bought the tickets, he gave his last couple of bucks to a homeless man. He took a lump sum of $17 million rather than annual payments. After taxes, he was left with about $11 million. Then one of his coworkers sued him, claiming Shakespeare stole the winning ticket from him. Shakespeare won the suit without too much difficulty.

The guy had a troubled past. Quite a lot of criminal activity beginning when he was a juvenile, never graduated high school, either completely illiterate or very close to it. But he doesn’t seem like an altogether bad sort. Most of his criminal convictions were for non-violent offenses. He stole things. He sometimes failed to pay child support. He drove when he wasn’t supposed to. Of course he shouldn’t have done those things, but there are many offenses that are much worse, as I’ll get to later.

If I win a large sum of money in the lottery (which is highly unlikely, seeing as how I’ve never bought a lottery ticket in my life), I hope no one ever finds out about it, and I will immediately hire a financial adviser to make sure I don’t blow through all the money right away. I’m sure people would be swarming all over me asking for handouts, like ants over a picnic basket — starting with members of my own family. So it was with Shakespeare. He gave boatloads of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases, to relatives and friends and even people he barely knew. He doesn’t appear to have purchased much for himself — a house, a couple of cars, a Rolex (used), and some pretty expensive eyeglasses judging by the pictures.

According to the St. Petersburg Times: He gave his stepfather $1 million. He gave his three step- sisters $250,000 apiece. He paid off $185,000 of a mortgage for a friend, he paid off $60,000 of a mortgage for a man whose last name he didn’t know and he paid off $53,000 of a mortgage for a man “out of the neighborhood” who he’d “been knowing for a few years.” … He gave his brother’s son’s best friend $40,000. He gave his mother $12,000 and his sister $10,000. He wrote Wachovia cashier’s checks to friends. He paid for funerals. By the time of his disappearance, just two and a half years after his lottery win, most of the money was gone. I’ve been told that’s pretty typical of jackpot lottery winners.

Enter Dorice “DeeDee” Moore, who claims she befriended Shakespeare back in late 2008. She says she wanted to write a book about Shakespeare’s life and that’s how they got together. She says she became a financial adviser to him and, in that capacity, gave herself a million dollars of his money. One of the most informative articles is here. Moore claims Shakespeare wanted to walk out of his life to get rid of all the problems he’d acquired as a lottery winner, and she “helped” him by paying him $870,000 in cash for his assets — a lot less than what those assets were worth, incidentally. Pretty crappy financial adviser, if you ask me. It’s obvious he got taken advantage of. And what’s more, according to a press conference held by the police, there’s no evidence that she actually paid him any of the $870,000. (That video is worth watching, if only for the depth of the contempt the officer has for Moore. You can almost see it in the air around him.)

Moore has a criminal record herself, and it’s for something that, in my opinion, is far worse than anything Shakespeare got convicted of. Back in 2001, she owed more on her SUV than it was worth and decided to collect on its insurance. So she went to the cops and claimed she’d been carjacked and gang-raped. God only knows how many thousands of dollars in taxpayer money was wasted before Moore’s story fell apart. I think that to try to pull something like that off you have to be not just remarkably selfish, even psychopathic, but also remarkably immature and stupid.

Shakespeare apparently dropped out of sight last April, but he wasn’t reported missing until late in the year. Moore muddied the waters by trying to make it look like he was still around. She sent text messages pretending to be him, and paid someone five grand to give a birthday card to Shakespeare’s mother. The guy, whatever his problems, had no history of walking out of his life. None. As far as I can tell he’d never lived outside the state of Florida in his life — though I could be wrong about this.

And now Moore seems all confused that the police are suspecting her of foul play and says, with tears in her eyes, gulping down sobs, that she was just trying to help a friend out, no good deed goes unpunished, they searched her (that is, his) house, they searched her car, they humiliated her, she’s never going to help anyone ever again, waaaah. She says she’s offering $10,000 to anyone who can lead her to wherever Shakespeare is hiding at, because she wants him to come back and clean up the mess he left. The police are also offering a $10,000 reward to find him, dead or alive.

It seems to me that Shakespeare would have turned up by now if he was hiding out there. So it looks like he’s wanted for failure to pay child support — so what? He’s been arrested for that before, and for other things. He can handle being arrested again. If he knew everybody thought he was dead, if he knew his friend Dee Dee was in trouble over him being missing, I think he would come back if he could. And I think he hasn’t come back because he can’t. I think it’s pretty obvious that Shakespeare’s lying in a swamp somewhere. I can only hope that his killer or killers (and I bet there was more than one) will face justice and his body will turn up.