MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A Marion County mechanic charged with fraud after customers accused him of swindling $50,000 from them is married to a woman whose job is to investigate property crime.
Wednesday, News 6 discovered Michael Thomas married Detective Pamela Thomas, of the Marion County Sheriff's Office, in 2012.
Michael Thomas, 36, is accused of fraud after meeting customers at his auto repair shop, Xtreme Diesel Performance, and not doing work he promised.
In one case, detectives say a victim gave Michael Thomas $13,700 to make upgrades to his truck. But detectives believe Thomas didn't do any work on the truck, and instead, drove it for a month and a half as his personal vehicle.
The allegations against Michael Thomas, filed from the Sheriff's Office, is a stark contrast to how the office describe's Michael Thomas' wife.
Pamela Thomas is a 10-year veteran with the Sheriff's Office. In 2015, the department named Pamela Thomas its "humanitarian of the year," saying she "goes above and beyond to help those in need in our community. After working a case of a stolen basketball hoop, she helped obtain a new hoop for the children."
Last year, Pamela Thomas' personnel file praised her as "detailed" and "thorough with her investigations."
She garnered all those accomplishments on top of having what looks like a second job.
News 6 obtained a 2015 business filing, listing Pamela Thomas as a manager at her husband's auto repair shop -- the same place where Michael Thomas was seen using a customer's vehicle as his own.
News 6 wanted to ask Pamela Thomas if she knew what kind of vehicle her husband owned, but when knocked on her door, a woman inside yelled at us to get off her property.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office said there is no conflict of interest between Pamela Thomas' job and her husband's criminal investigation.
According to the Internal Affairs Unit at the Sheriff's Office:
"Detective Pamela Thomas has not had any involvement in the investigation of Michael Thomas. A supervisor has conducted the investigation and the case against Michael Thomas is still active. Up to this point in the investigation, detectives have not found any credible information that Detective Thomas has participated in any criminal activity. Internal Affairs was notified and they conducted a preliminary assessment. They could not find any evidence to bring forth an internal investigation against Detective Thomas at this point in time."
Meanwhile, the investigation into Michael Thomas is still on going, and his business troubles are not stopping, either.
The state Deptartment of Agriculture and Consumer Services told News 6 Wednesday that it found Xtreme Diesel Performance "operating with an expired license and filed an administrative complaint."
So far, Thomas has failed to satisfy that complaint.
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