HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A former Harrisonburg Rockingham Regional Jail inmate filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Augusta Sheriff Donald Smith and convicted human trafficker Felix Chujoy, alleging theft of his identity by fraudulent use of his inmate account. The suit alleges that Smith and Chujoy used the fraudulent pin numbers to avoid detection by federal law enforcement during a human trafficking investigation and prosecution which began in 2015 when Sheriff Smith was running for election.
The suit alleges that Christopher Moore was held in HRRJ between 4/21/2015 and 7/21/2015, and that on June 5, 2015, his inmate pin number was stolen by Chujoy. The suit further alleges that Chujoy used the stolen pin number to call Smith, with the objective of avoiding detection of the calls by federal law enforcement. It is further alleged that Smith conspired with Chujoy to use the stolen pin numbers, and that it was Smith who actually caused the theft of funds from Moore's account when he accepted the call and authorized the debit of funds from an account he knew belonged to another inmate. The Sheriff would have known that, because the inmate name is pronounced when the call is accepted, according to the lawsuit.
Smith is being sued in his individual capacity along with Chujoy. The pair are alleged to have stolen money from Moore through fraudulent use of his account, and conspired to harm Moore while trying to cover up their relationship and ongoing conversations they had about tampering with witnesses in the federal criminal case and Smith explaining what he told, and what he did not tell, to federal investigators, according to the lawsuit.
"An inmate should not have to worry about a police officer or sheriff stealing their identities or their funds," said Moore. "I want justice so that this will never happen to anyone else in the future."
"This abuse of power cannot stand," said Mike Donovan, Chief Executive of Nexus Services, which is funding the legal action. "Sheriff Smith and Felix Chujoy must be held accountable for their lawlessness… and that is especially true for a man whose day job makes him the chief law enforcement officer in Augusta County."
The case was filed on September 18, 2019 in Rockingham County Circuit Court. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney fees.
About Nexus Services, Inc.
Nexus Services, Inc. is a leading provider of immigrant bail securitization and electronic monitoring. The organization funds NDH LLC as a part of its corporate giving to increase access to justice for disadvantaged people across the United States. http://www.nexushelps.com/
About Nexus Derechos Humanos Attorneys
NDH LLC is a pro bono civil-rights law firm committed to holding public officials accountable for placing money or politics above the lives of human beings, protecting due-process rights to be free from government coercion and demanding justice and enforcement of hard-won civil rights. http://www.ndhlawyers.com/
Link to Lawsuit:
SOURCE Nexus Services