Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Cop Gets 40 Years in Shooting of State Fraud Investigation Target; Judge Rejects Plea for Leniency in Case Involving Use of Badge, Robbery of Payroll

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Cop Gets 40 Years in Shooting of State Fraud Investigation Target; Judge Rejects Plea for Leniency in Case Involving Use of Badge, Robbery of Payroll

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

An ex-cop who robbed and shot a Jacksonville house framer he was investigating for fraud was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison, despite a tearful plea for leniency and a prior acquittal.

Prosecutors estimated Arthur Picklo, 44, will be 78 before he is eligible to be released from prison. His lawyer said he will appeal.

The shooting victim asked for life but said he was happy with the sentence.

"By the time he gets out, he won't be able to hurt anybody else or try to kill anybody else," said Guadalupe Frausto, who testified he was left for dead off Interstate 10 after Picklo used his badge to get him to pull over, then shot him and stole $34,000 in payroll check proceeds.

Picklo, a former Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputy, was working as an undercover fraud investigator for the Florida Department of Insurance in 2000 as part of a massive federal grand jury investigation into fraud, tax evasion, immigration violations and money laundering in Northeast Florida's construction industry.

Frausto, who framed houses in Duval and St. Johns counties, was a target of the probe and was shot in the face in September 2000 after Picklo trailed him from a Murray Hill check-cashing business. The bullets were matched to a gun Picklo had borrowed from a Columbia County deputy.

A Duval County jury acquitted Picklo of attempted murder charges in 2002, but the FBI arrested him last fall on the federal indictment that led to his conviction and sentence Thursday.

Faced with a range of 30 years to life under non-binding federal sentencing guidelines, Picklo asked U.S. District Judge Henry Adams to stray below the guidelines and give him 10 years.

"I can't stand here today and admit guilt or apologize in good conscience because I maintain my innocence," Picklo said, his voice quivering with emotion. He asked the judge to consider his long law enforcement career, his service to the community and his children.

His court-appointed attorney, Ronald Maxwell, added that Picklo has no history of violence -- only a handful of bad check charges brought on by financial problems stemming from his arrest. …

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