WRAL Investigates

Fired troopers allegedly ran outside businesses on duty

Posted May 10, 2011
Updated May 18, 2011

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— Two North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers fired last week were accused of running outside businesses while on duty, according to a letter obtained by WRAL Investigates.

Trooper Hubert Sealey, 45, and Lt. Michael Faison, 42, were dismissed May 3 following an internal investigation into "non-criminal personnel issues," Highway Patrol officials said. No other details were released.

The men, who were assigned to Troop B in Fayetteville, couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment.

A Sept. 14 letter to Gov. Beverly Perdue signed "Concerned Troopers of Troop B" alleged that Sealey and former Trooper Melvin Stephens openly flaunted how much money they made off government contracts for health care companies that they operate.

Records from the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office show Sealey owns Project Challenge, a nonprofit he founded two years ago in Fairmont. Stephens operates Stephens Outreach Center, a mental health outreach center in Lumberton, and Capital View Healthcare Center, a drug treatment center in Cumberland County.

"They snicker that they submit claims for alleged services provided to the government ... and that most of it is done from their cell phone while on duty," the letter alleged.

Project Challenge is not connected to a nonprofit of the same name based in Spruce Pine that operates in 35 counties statewide.

WRAL Investigates Fired troopers allegedly ran outside businesses on duty

Whenever auditors raised questions about their billings, the letter said, Sealey and Stephens would show up for hearings in uniform to intimidate the auditors.

Stephens retired from the Highway Patrol on May 1.

Faison incorporated Helping Hands Care Management Services 11 years ago, according to state records. The Wallace nonprofit provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, and its website openly notes that Faison works with the Highway Patrol.

"So much for supervisors monitoring their subordinates," the letter states.

The Highway Patrol has declined to comment on the cases of the three troopers, but spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said the agency has a strict policy regarding when troopers can work second jobs and prohibiting potential conflicts of interest.

"We don't want anybody to do anything negatively that's going to affect the patrol in a negative manner nor for the member," Gordon said. "Most importantly, we don't want a member to do secondary employment that's going to affect their day-to-day jobs as troopers."

Sealey, who also is a Robeson County commissioner, had been with the patrol since January 2003 and was assigned to the Motor Carrier Enforcement Division.

Faison had been with the patrol since November 1991 and was assigned to Troop B headquarters.

The troopers have appealed their dismissals.

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  • steppingup May 12, 2011

    A couple of years ago a NC police officer who was RECORDED discussing downloading music for free. The officer named the name Kazaa which has appeared in numerous lawsuits and talked about how the songs were arranged in groups and you choose the songs and just click and get them. He said it was the thing to do everybody was doing it. He bet his daughters had downloaded a THOUSAND SONGS on his computer. He said he had to get a new computer his old one FILLED UP WITH MEMORY. He laughed and said he hoped the federal government did not come in and investigate him.

    Shortly after this conversation we began reading the news articles people were being sued by RIAA and the FBI. They were calling piracy a crime of stealing and calling these people thieves. The RIAA and the FBI on their websites encourage people to report piracy. The FBI Anti Piracy Warning says they investigate. At that time we reported the officer's conversation as well as his name to the RIAA and the FBI. It was ig

  • djhartm May 11, 2011

    The sad reality is that what will likely happen is these guys will sue for racial discrimination & get a nice settlement and/or promotion out of the deal. All the while continuing to run their sham businesses bilking the government. What a nice pair these two make. One has to wonder how much more of this is going on...

  • Ven May 11, 2011

    Swift action indeed, before the reality of just exactly how much 'theft' was going on. Look at the returns for Helping Hands, over past 2 years took in around $1.4M annually, almost all from Medicade or DHHS. The Trooper paid himself (including $165K 'loan' from the nonprofit) ~$60K, then almost 95% of the rest of the money went towards 'other salaries and wages'. Given this is just a house in the middle of nowhere, not sure how many kids they really help to need such a staff. This was not rent, auto upkeep for the 3 cars/trucks listed), or operational expenses. I'm sure the trooper isn't the only one doing this, he just ran his mouth and got caught. Once again, it's our social service DELIVERY merchanism that is broke (including the abuse of it). No one is checking and the worst part is that people/kids who could really use that $1.4M don't get it.

  • superman May 11, 2011

    Saying that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes wont fly anymore. I learned that when I was in the first grade. Just because other boys in the class misbehaved or had bad grades just didnt seem to make a difference with my parents. They expected and demanded that I do the right thing. I guess it might be that personal integrity is important.

  • pamlico2 May 11, 2011

    This investigation started on a Monday and they were fired that same week.....sounds like the Patrol is taking swift action.

    Unfortunately, we as human will take advantage of the system if not monitored. Ethical dilema question: If you are stopped for speeding on the highway (and you know you were speeding) but, the trooper/officer/deputy gives you a break and a warning. You drive off relieved that you insurance goes is not going up and you dont have to pay a ticket......Didnt you break the law? The same laws that you expect everyone to adhere too? These guys made a choice....the wrong choice...they got fired. Wouldnt it be great to everyone's mistake in the newspaper so everyone can voice their opinion....If you dont make any mistakes at work, home, .....than you want have any problem with some stranger telling you what they think.

  • pamlico2 May 11, 2011

    To Journey985....The Troopers that have been fired or quit before being fired forgot the reason why they joined. Service to the State. So they made the choice to go against policy, state law, or whatever ......they got fired. They no longer wear the same uniform that I have worn honorably for 15 years. I say to you, if you have lived a perfect life ....no mistakes no regrets....then you walk on water and should get a lottery ticket today... Did you hear about the plumber who had an affair with a client? Or the guy who hides behind a computer screen.......nobody cares because it doesn't make the news.

  • trainloadr May 11, 2011

    Seems as if they were shafting the government in two ways.

  • Journey985 May 11, 2011

    "few fallen apples does not mean the whole orchard is rotten" - Sorry, that one is just not holding water for me anymore. We are only hearing about the ones that are getting caught!! How many others are out there abusing their power, breaking the law, or looking the other way knowing that other LEO's are doing illegal activities? Enough already...time we had a serious house cleaning! The NC SHP is becoming the laughing stock across the country, talk about a fall from a place of honor!

  • skyyekatfromafar May 11, 2011

    MpnkeyFace--"openly flaunted how much money they made off government contracts for health care companies that they operate"--now to you that may seem like it's a 'non-criminal' act but I'd bet my last buck on investigating that it will be found out that they are bilking the Medicare (govt) system in the process. Add to that, "auditors raised questions about their billings, the letter said, Sealey and Stephens would show up for hearings in uniform to intimidate the auditors." Auditing?? Sounds like someone was already suspecting some less than credible actions by these two.

    What a sad day for this state agency when they have barely recovered from an earlier scandal and now this. Yes, it does give one serious pause to question the credibility of our troopers but it's times like this that I remember a saying of my late father's, "Just because there's a few fallen apples does not mean the whole orchard is rotten."

  • jaydosse May 11, 2011

    Take away their firearms and they become impotent. I certainly hope they are not eligible for any state LEORS pension after these allegations are confirmed!!

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