January 26, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt
A man who came to Sulphur City Council meetings to help sell the idea of Red Light cameras and other traffic citation equipment has been convicted of making and passing more than a million dollars in forged checks. Jay Morris Specter could pay hefty fines and spend many years in prison.
Redflex Traffic Systems approached Sulphur about installing cameras and getting a mobile suv to catch those who run red lights and speeders. Spector, a sales rep who appeared at some of those meetings, was convicted in federal court January 19 in South Carolina. Specter was been found guilty of five counts of making and passing forged checks totaling $1.2 million.
Prosecutors say eleven checks to be signed over to suppliers were altered by Specter and deposited to his own business account. Though Redflex says it didn't know about criminal charges against Specter, Sulphur Council Chairman Chris Duncan says it still raises concerns about doing business with the company. "This does not look good for Redflex," he says. "In my eyes this is a big red flag."
However Sulphur Mayor Ron LeLeux says he he does not believe Specter's conviction is a reflection on Redflex, nor does it change the need to deal with those who break traffic laws. As well Charles Buckles, a consultant for Redflex, says Specter was himself a consultant -- not an employee-- and that his relationship with Redflex was terminated immediately when they found out about his conviction. He says they didn't know about his legal problems before that.
That surprises Duncan. "I'm in business myself and I do a thorough background check on all my employees on a continual basis."