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Updated: Monday, 23 Apr 2012, 2:51 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 22 Nov 2011, 9:45 PM EST
NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) - Kevin Millette has served prison time for elaborate scams in the past and now police in three states are on the hunt for him again for allegedly bilking several victims of thousands of dollars, a Target 12 Investigation reveals.
North Smithfield police have charged Millette, 45, of North Smithfield, with obtaining money under false pretense for allegedly stealing more than $80,000 from former NHL player Jeffrey Jillson in a scheme that played out over months.
"Kevin Millette is probably Rhode Island's latest version of a grifter," said attorney William Devereaux who has filed a civil suit on behalf of Jillson. "He's a scam artist and has been a scam artist for a number of years."
According to police reports and court records, Millette allegedly promised Jillson he could get him a Mercedes and gas tanks for a Harley Davidson motorcycle at a good deal. But over the course of nearly a year, it became clear Millette wasn't going to deliver on the promise.
"In this particular case he was able to get $85,000," Devereaux said. "Then you see the same dance, he claims 'oh the motor vehicle is tied up in shipment, the parts are being transported.' He's got a million excuses."
Jillson had every reason to trust Millette. In a previous deal that had fallen through, Millette had actually given Jillson his money back. Devereaux said that's Millette's M.O.: to gain the trust of his targets.
"It's the classic scam he pulls, he gains the confidence of the person by appearing to be honest," Devereaux said.
Jillson is not alone, according to police records and court documents gathered and analyzed by Target 12.
Millette's most costly known scam was more than a decade ago in Virginia.
According to federal prosecutors, Millette duped a group of blue-collar investors of more than $600,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Waering from the Western District of Virginia worked the case in 1998 and remembers how crafty the defendant was.
"He claimed he was buying Harley Davidson motorcycles low and selling them high so he got a group of investors. They were home builders and contractors," Waering said. "He claimed to have a source where he could buy them inexpensively and make a big profit."
Despite a successful prosecution and Millette receiving a sentence of 30 months at a federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J., the victims never saw their money again, according to Waering.
Millette also racked up several charges in Rhode Island. He first appeared on the law enforcement radar screen in 1992 when Lincoln police say he reported his car stolen from the Lincoln Mall. An investigation later revealed he had actually sold the car. Millette pleaded no contest to falsely reporting a crime.
In 1999 – while in the custody of the federal government in the Virginia case – Millette pleaded no contest to four separate charges of obtaining money under false pretense for crimes in Warwick, North Smithfield and Woonsocket.
He also pleaded no contest in 2004 to the same charge, again in Warwick. According to a police report from that case, Millette allegedly told a victim he could get a motorcycle cheap after it had been in an accident. But, just like in the past cases, Millette never came through and stopped calling the victims who were hoping to get their money back.
Fugitive from justice
Jillson, too, stopped hearing from Millette, according to Devereaux.
The Jillson family eventually filed a complaint with the North Smithfield police department.
According to Devereaux, Jillson – who is now playing professional hockey in Europe – was introduced to Millette by attorney Sam Lovett, who is named in the 2004 Warwick police report as Millette's attorney.
Police knocked on the door of Millette's North Smithfield home, his wife told investigators she hadn't seen her husband in some time. The trail had gone cold.
Then in the summer of 2009, police caught a break.
An officer on patrol in Marco Island Florida spotted a white Mercedes sitting outside a restaurant and decided to run the plate. It came back that the owner of the car was wanted by Rhode Island police in the Jillson case.
According to the police report, the patrolman waited patiently for Millette to leave the restaurant, then slapped handcuffs on Millette's wrist and charged him with being a fugitive from justice.
Days later, the balding Millette sat in a Rhode Island courtroom after being shipped back to the Ocean State. Yet despite a checkered past, the District Court judge let Millette out on bail with a promise from Millette that he would return for his next hearing on Oct. 5th, 2009.
Millette never showed.
Only after Millette vanished did two more victims in Florida come forward claiming he failed to deliver on a car and a van they had paid some money up front for.
But it was too late. As it turns out, Millette was thousands of miles away in a colder climate.
The Rhode Island Attorney General's office issued a warrant for Millette's arrest after he skipped out on the October hearing. Millette has been on the run ever since.
Target 12 has learned while on the run, he lived for several months in Hampton New Hampshire, renting a seaside condominium in the summer of 2010. A property manager said Millette paid his $1,600 monthly rent in cash.
While hiding out, Millette tried to find work at a local garage that sold used cars. He told the owner he was a Harley Davidson expert and an experienced dealer.
The owner, who asked to remain anonymous for this report, said Millette – who used his real name – eventually scammed him of a substantial amount of money. He declined to say how much, but he brought the case to the police.
New Hampshire authorities, who have filed four charges against Millette, are also investigating another Hampton case where Millette allegedly scammed a former prosecutor.
While running from the law in New Hampshire, Target 12 has learned Millette's wife Pamela was a regular visitor.
Former neighbors of the fugitive said they would frequently see Pamela Millette – who they say went by another name – visit him. They say she drove a white SUV bearing Rhode Island plates.
Devereaux said Pamela Millette admitted under oath during a deposition that she would drive to New Hampshire on occasion to spend time with her fugitive husband. But she denied using an alias.
Target 12 paid Pamela Millette a visit at her North Smithfield home. Answering the door in a bathrobe and clutching a barking dog, Millette said didn't want to talk about her husband and closed the door.
In an attempt to reclaim some of his client’s lost money, Devereaux has asked the Rhode Island courts to attach two homes owned by Kevin Millette and his wife to the lawsuit. He contends the mortgages paid on those homes were obtained – at least in part – from the nearly $84,000 Jillson gave to Millette.
Devereaux said he is confident he will win the legal battle, making Jillson whole again. But that may not be the case for the other people who say they are victims of Kevin Millette. Many of them, Devereaux said, may be too embarrassed to even come forward.
"I don't think this guy can contain himself," Devereaux said. "Until he's caught and taken off the street he's going to go out andlook for more victims."
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