for immediate release
November 18, 2004

N E W S   R E L E A S E

Two Okaloosa County women have been arrested in an ongoing fraud investigation. Zabetti A. "Betty" Pappas (pictured left), age 49 (11-10-1955), of Shalimar is charged with Organized Fraud, Communications Fraud, Tampering with a Witness, Making False Official Statements, Making False Statements to Obtain Property, Investment Fraud, Grand Theft, Unlawful Sale of Securities, Acting as an Unregistered Dealer of Securities, Perjury, Criminal Mischief, and Conducting Business without a County License.

Her associate, Laura L. Crouch (pictured right), age 58 (11-16-1946), also of Shalimar, is charged with Organized Fraud, Grand Theft, and Criminal Mischief.

Both were arrested yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. Both remain held in the Okaloosa County Jail; bonds have been set at $100,000 cash for Pappas and $75,000 for Crouch.

An investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office revealed evidence of a pattern of activity since 2001, in which Pappas and Crouch have rented residential property, sublet the properties to tenants and collected rent, and failed to pay the agreed rents to the owners at more than half a dozen rented homes in south Okaloosa county. The investigation produced evidence of numerous false statements on various forms associated with the scheme.

More details are available on the complete arrest reports, which may be accessed at www.sheriff-okaloosa.org.

The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible in the future.

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for more information contact Sgt. Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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