A Nevada man, two District police officers and two former District police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury here yesterday in a money-swapping fraud scheme.
An arrest warrant carrying a bond of $750,00 was set for Sherwin I. [Hjrry] Lisner of Las Vegas, the alleged ringleader of the scheme who is now a fugitive.
According to the charges, Lisner and the police officers would lure businessmen with legitimately earned large sums of money to Washington on the false promise that they could exchange the money for even larger sums of "hots" money from East Coast gangsters.
Actually, the persons in on the scheme would take a businessman's money and make sham arrests at the time the switch was made, the charges said. The arresting "officers" would keep the businessman's money and let him leave free but empty-handed, according to the indictment.
Named in yesterday's indictment were two former police officers, Printes A. Blevins Jr., and Grayling M. Cockrell and current officers Gary L. Richardson and Vincent C. Shirley. They reportedly participated in the scheme in various capacities, usually in assisting in making the fake "arrests" that climaxed the capers.
The indictment changes the men with participating in five incidents in D.C. -- one involving $140,000 and another involving $150,000 -- although investigators said other incidents occurred in the D.C. suburbs. The investigators say as much as $600,000 may have been involved in the incidents.
Four other persons, including two former policemen and one present policeman, already have entered guilty pleas in connection with the conspiracy.
Two of those pleas were entered yesterday before U.S. District Judge June L. Green. District police officer Steven Smith of Oxon Hill, who submitted his resignation yesterday, pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy for his agreement to participate in one of the arrests at Union Station.
Leslie D. Helterbran of Cinnaminson, N.J., pleaded guilty to conspiracy and grand larceny charges. He is a former District police officer who would reportedly play the role of a plainclothes detective in sone of the fake arrests.
In at least one of the incidents, uniformed city police officers using police cruisers participated in the operation to help convince the victims that the arrests were real, investigators said.
Other who have pleaded guilty are former police officer Viktor Schnur and Alfred Jerry Kish.