The Greensboro intrigue metastasizes


Just when we thought we had some kind of handle on the goings-on in the Greensboro Police Department scandal, we got the news that Beverly Hinson, ex-wife of Lt. James Hinson, was arrested by federal authorities in connection with a check kiting scheme which has been going on for about a year.

This item raises many, many questions, the first of which is this: Check kiting? Check kiting? You’ve got to be kidding us. A woman who has worked as a bank teller and was married to a police officer takes part in a check kiting scheme?

That’s insane.

Surely Beverly Hinson knew that check kiting – which is basically a shell game of writing hot checks – doesn’t really work anymore with the advent of computerized banking and meticulous tracing of funds. Surely she knew that there was virtually no way she wouldn’t eventually get caught for her alleged role in the caper, which was reportedly to certify a six-figure check she knew to be no good at Wachovia Bank, where she worked.

What is the extent of Ms. Hinson’s involvement? Does the timeline of this scheme go back to before 2004, when the Hinsons first separated? Does this investigation have any bearing on the treatment James Hinson received by his department? Was Risk Management Associates aware of it when they compiled the RMA report?

And is she one of the major players here or was she merely a pawn?

What of the agencies involved in the investigation? According to the News & Record not only has the Greensboro Police Department been tapped for this federal case, but also the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Secret Service (the enforcement arm of the US Treasury Department) and the US Postal Service.

What’s up with that?

It makes us wonder exactly what private investigator Art League was doing when he was spotted outside Ms. Hinson’s apartment on Hilltop Road. He has said he was working on a domestic case in the same neighborhood, but we are suspicious of coincidences as a matter of policy even in Greensboro where such things actually do happen.

For example, is it a coincidence that Theophilus O. Stokes III – Pella to his friends – was the recipient of office furniture that once belonged to Project Homestead?

Stokes was arrested on March 2 in connection with the case, along with Tramaine Denise Brown, who was an employee of the Post Office. Terrell L. Raynor and Derrick McDowell were arrested in Brandon, Miss. last week in connection with the case after being stopped for reckless driving.

Another interesting wrinkle is that First Citizens Bank, along with Sun Trust and Wachovia, is somehow involved in this shell game due to the fact that Stokes had a trust fund account there.

Which begs just one more question: Why would a 50-year-old man with an established law practice, real estate interests and a family have a trust fund in the first place?