The Woodward News

Local News

March 26, 2013

Local men facing felony charges of conspiracy

Woodward, Okla. — A former Woodward law enforcement officer has been arrested for and charged with insurance fraud.

In addition, Clinton Ivan Rutledge, 41, has also been charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud for allegedly asking a convicted felon to steal his pickup so that he could file an insurance claim against the vehicle.

According to Woodward County District Court records, FBI Agent Tate Turnbo contacted the Woodward County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) in early March after receiving a report that a WCSO deputy named "Clint" had allegedly arranged to have his black Ford pickup stolen by a Christopher Dean Noreuil. The FBI agent said he also had information that the pickup was at Noreuil's residence and "in the garage being taken apart," the court affidavit states.

The FBI agent said a subject "informed him that the doors to the pickup were in a shed in Noreuil's back yard," the affidavit states.

WCSO Undersheriff Kevin Mitchell told the FBI agent that it sounded like he was speaking about Reserve Deputy Rutledge, but that Rutledge had not filed a stolen vehicle report in Woodward County.  Upon additional investigation, the FBI agent discovered that Rutledge had filed an insurance claim on Jan. 29, 2013, "claiming that his Ford pickup, utility trailer, and three pallets of landscape rock had been stolen in Irving, Texas."

The undersheriff and FBI agent then visited Noreuil's residence on March 22 in an attempt to interview him, the affidavit states. Although unable to make contact during that visit, the officers were able to observe some vehicle doors in a shed at the residence.  Mitchell then obtained a search warrant for the residence that same day and returned in the afternoon to search the property.

The affidavit states that during the search, "Rutledge's Ford F-250 pickup was located in the garage and was verified by the VIN."

The affidavit describes the pickup as having been "almost completely stripped of its parts.”

Noreuil was then located allegedly hiding in a bedroom closet under some blankets, the affidavit states.  Noreuil was immediately arrested and transported to the local FBI office to be interviewed.

Following the interview the FBI agent told Mitchell that Noreuil allegedly admitted to being involved with the insurance fraud.

"Agent Turnbo informed me that Noreuil had told him Rutledge has asked him to make the Ford pickup disappear so that Rutledge could make an insurance claim.  Agent Turnbo told me that Noreuil said he had gotten the Ford pickup from Rutledge's residence while Rutledge had gone to Texas to make the stolen vehicle report," Mitchell wrote in the affidavit.

In addition to Rutledge's dismantled pickup, the search of Noreuil's home also allegedly uncovered "multiple pieces of drug paraphernalia," including a pipe, syringes, and spoons.

Mitchell wrote in his affidavit that "two of the syringes were loaded with a liquid that I believed to be methamphetamine."

Noreuil was transported to the Woodward County Jail and booked in connection with the alleged fraud as well as in connection with the alleged drug possession.

Noreuil is facing 3 felony counts, one each of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, knowingly concealing stolen property, and possession of controlled dangerous substance-methamphetamine.  He has also been charged with a misdemeanor of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

After booking Noreuil in jail, the undersheriff and FBI agent went to interview Rutledge at his residence.  According to the affidavit, Rutledge allegedly signed a Miranda rights waiver and agreed to speak with the law enforcement officers.

He then allegedly admitted to asking Noreuil to make his pickup "disappear," giving similar details to those provided by Noreuil, the affidavit states.

"Agent Turnbo asked Rutledge why he had gotten involved in this type of crime and Rutledge stated that he was in a bad position financially," the affidavit states.

Rutledge also allegedly told the officers that as a result of filing the insurance claim, the insurance company had paid off the balance of his vehicle loan in the amount of $10,000, the affidavit states.  He also allegedly said he received personal insurance checks amounting to $8,400 for the theft, which he used to catch up on his debts, according to the affidavit.

Following the interview, Rutledge was arrested and faces 2 felony charges, one each for the alleged fraud and alleged conspiracy.

He appeared in court Monday afternoon and a preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 10 at 9:30 a.m.  Since Rutledge had already been released from jail on a $10,000 bond, Associate District Judge Don Work agreed to continue the bond.

Noreuil also appeared in court Monday. His bail was set at $100,000 and his preliminary hearing is Aug. 27 at 9:30 a.m. Noreuil has previous felony convictions of endeavoring to manufacture meth and embezzlement.

Rutledge previously served as an officer with the Woodward Police Department between September 2000 and March 2007, when he resigned to go into private business, according to City of Woodward records.

Then in April 2008, Rutledge was made a reserve deputy with the Woodward County Sheriff's Office, where he had continued to serve until recently.

Sheriff Gary Stanley said that "he was terminated when he was arrested on Friday."

The sheriff said that it was difficult to arrest one of his own employees.

"It's a real hard thing to do to arrest another law enforcement officer that you've worked with.  I always hate that type of situation," Stanley said.

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