9 Investigates

Ex-cop-turned-felon found in violation of state law following Channel 9 investigation

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — A state investigation has just determined the ex-cop-turned felon who 9 Investigates exposed working as a security officer inside a Kissimmee community was violating state law.

Investigative reporter Karla Ray has been covering the issues at Turnberry Reserve since September. She learned the property management company that hired Joseph Conover is also now accused of breaking the law.

There are two state investigations into former officer Conover and his live-in business partner, Management 35 Firm owner Sherry Raposo. The criminal investigation is still ongoing, but a regulatory investigation found Conover and Management 35 were violating the law by operating a security business without the proper licenses.

The day Channel 9 first aired video of Ray questioning Conover about why he was appearing to work security at Turnberry Reserve, regulators in Tallahassee launched their investigation. The investigation cited Channel 9's reporting as a reason to take a closer look at Conover's role in the community.

Investigators found Conover, who was on parole for months after being convicted of crimes related to his time as a company police officer in North Carolina, regularly reported to his parole officer that his job duties were security-related. Documents show he included specific details, including enforcement action as directed by Turnberry's homeowners association.

Investigators found a letter, written by Raposo, further describing Conover's role with her company. The letter stated, "Chief Conover has been instrumental in implementing our in-house security department."

Though both Conover and Raposo tried to argue that the security services being provided were ‘in-house' and did not require a license from the state, regulators disagreed.

"During the period of about December 2018 through July 2019, in Osceola County Florida, Respondent performed the services of a security officer and or manager without a valid Class "D" or "M" license.  Respondent is in violation of Section 493.6118(1)(g), Florida Statutes," investigators wrote.

In both cases, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Licensing issued disciplinary actions including administrative complaints and fines. The investigations found that Conover violated Section 493.6118(1)(g), Florida Statutes, and Management 35 Firm violated Section 493.6118(1)(g) and 493.6118(1)(t), Florida Statutes.

Conover and Management 35 Firm have 21 days from receipt to either accept the settlement and penalties, or request a hearing.

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.