A Harnett County man worked with a Wake County court clerk to have the state computer system show that a DWI charge against him had been dropped and that he had been found not guilty of another, according to grand jury indictments returned against both people this week.
Tony Lavel Richardson, 50, of Angier turned himself in at the Wake County Detention Center on Friday morning.
Teresa Lee Holiday, 45, of Smithfield turned herself in on Tuesday, the day the grand jury returned the indictments, and she has been cooperating with prosecutors, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Friday.
Richardson and Holiday are each charged with three counts of accessing government computers to defraud, three counts of altering court documents and one count of obstructing justice.
All the charges are felonies.
Holiday had resigned her job in the clerk’s office before the scheme alleged in the indictments was discovered, Freeman said.
According to the indictments, Richardson and Holiday used a computer in the clerk’s office at the Wake County Justice Center on Dec. 29, 2014, to change records to show he had been found not guilty of driving while impaired on Feb. 28 that year.
The DWI charge has been restored, along with other counts of having an open alcohol container in the passenger area of his car, driving with a license that had been revoked and driving while his license had been pulled for an alcohol offense.
The indictments also accuse the two of going into the computer system to mark a Nov. 14, 2013, DWI charge as having been dismissed.
It took two tries to alter that record, however, Freeman said.
Richardson and Holiday marked the case as dismissed on Feb. 5, 2015, the grand jury charged. Freeman said a normal review of cases caught what officials thought was just a mistake, and the charge was restored.
After that, the grand jury said, the case was marked as dismissed again on May 15, 2015.
Prosecutors restored the charge after discovering records had been changed a second time, Freeman said, but a judge dismissed it for real on Tuesday – the same day the grand jury heard from a State Bureau of Investigation agent about the scheme.
Prosecutors could not locate the original paperwork accusing Richardson, Freeman said.
Trying to charge Richardson for the same offense based on the same evidence would violate the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.
Richardson was held on $75,000 bail after a first court appearance Friday afternoon, and he is scheduled for another appearance next Wednesday, a state court calendar shows.
Holiday was released on $45,000 bail after she surrendered to authorities. She has another court date on Monday.
Freeman declined to discuss what relationship authorities believe Richardson and Holiday had or how they met.
She said the motive for changing the records appeared to be that Richardson could face jail time if he is convicted of driving while impaired again. He has a DWI conviction in Wake County from 2013 and was put on probation after that.
Richardson has other court problems in Johnston County, however. Authorities there charged him with driving while impaired and several other charges after a Sept. 19, 2015, accident.
The DWI and some of the other charges were dismissed in court actions later that year, but a grand jury indicted him on two counts of aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle and felony hit and run.
He also has a DWI charge in Johnston County from last year.
Richardson is scheduled for court sessions in May on all those charges.