A veteran Princeville police officer was arrested and charged with three felonies Thursday after investigators with the NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Bureau of Theft determined he allegedly sold a vehicle and the customer never received the vehicle or the title.
According to a spokewoman with the DMV, William Anthony Barnes, 50, was arrested and charged with obtaining property by false pretense, altering a title and felony conspiracy.
Princeville Police Chief Joey Petway said Barnes is on paid leave.
Petway said Barnes was placed on paid leave in connection with an ongoing investigation that has no connection with the felony charges. He declined comment on the felony charges against Barnes.
Barnes is being investigated by the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office in connection with a domestic violence situation that recently occurred.
The felony charges stemmed from an investigation that began after the DMV Bureau of Theft received information on Nov. 7 from the person who reportedly purchased a vehicle from Barnes for $4,000, but never received the vehicle nor the title.
After an investigation, the agency learned there may be notary fraud involved in the case as well. They are continuing to investigate the case as well as the notary who was involved. The spokewoman couldn't release the name of the notary because of the ongoing investigation.
Barnes apparently filled out an MVR4 form, which is used to apply for a duplicate title for a vehicle, and the information that was printed on the form was allegedly falsified or forged and the notary knowingly notarized the form being sent to the DMV.
Additionally, an unidentified towing company is also being investigated in the case.
Under the structured sentencing guidelines in North Carolina, Barnes could face a maximum of 4-6 months for the felony alter title, 5-6 months for the obtaining property by false pretense and 4-6 months for felony conspiracy.