Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to own your ex-wife in the custody battle:

From The Smoking Gun -
In an embarrassing about-face, federal prosecutors yesterday abruptly dropped criminal charges against an Indiana man who they accused of bugging his ex-wife’s automobile.
The FBI last Friday arrested David Voelkert, 38, largely on the basis of messages the South Bend man recently exchanged with a purported 17-year-old Facebook friend named “Jessica Studebaker.”

In fact, the “Studebaker” account was created last month by Voelkert’s ex-wife Angela, 29, in an apparent bid to extract information she could use against him in an ongoing child custody fight.

As described in an FBI affidavit, David Voelkert’s Facebook correspondence with “Studebaker” included an admission that he had placed a GPS device in his ex-wife’s vehicle to surreptitiously monitor her movements. He also wrote about his desire to “find someone to take care of” Angela, and told “Studebaker” that “you should find someone at your school…that would put a cap in her ass for $10,000.”

For her part, Angela Voelkert sought to use the Facebook exchanges against her ex-husband. In a June 1 Superior Court application for a restraining order against him, Voelkert attached several pages of Facebook messages exchanged between “Studebaker” and David Voelkert. The messages showed her ex-husband telling “Studebaker” about the tracking device, as well as his concern the teenager could “get arrested as an accessory to all this.”

Voelkert spent four days in custody until federal prosecutors moved yesterday to drop charges against him. He was freed after proving to investigators that he knew all along that his ex-wife was the one sending him messages from the “Studebaker” account. Voelkert explained that he played along with the ruse so that he could use his ex-spouse’s machinations against her in their custody case.

To support this contention, Voelkert provided FBI agents with a May 25 notarized affidavit in which he describes receiving a friend request from “Jessica Studebaker,” whom he suspected was his ex-wife. “I am lying to this person,” he stated, “to gain positive proof that it is indeed my ex-wife trying to again tamper in my life.” He added, “In no way do I have plans to leave with my children or do any harm to Angela Dawn Voelkert or anyone else.”The allegedly incriminating Facebook messages sent by Voelkert came on May 31, six days after his sworn affidavit was notarized. Voelkert kept one copy of the affidavit, and gave a relative a second copy for safekeeping.

Federal investigators, who interviewed the bank employee who notarized the affidavit on May 25, confirmed that the document was authentic, triggering the government motion yesterday to dismiss Voelkert’s case. “The request is based upon information learned in the government’s ongoing investigation of the case,” wrote prosecutor Jesse Barrett, who declined to comment about the matter when contacted by a TSG reporter.

Magistrate Judge Christopher Nuechterlein yesterday signed an order dismissing the case against Voelkert.

Now, this story really drives me crazy.  On one hand, I'm glad that things have worked out (so far) for the guy.  It's actually quite pleasing to me that he got the drop on his scheming ex-wife, because with as much effort as we've made towards gender equality in our society, one of the areas that trails FAR behind is post-divorce father's rights, and I know a few fathers who got screwed over by their exes and the courts who would have loved to have something like this (proof of the scheming ex) to bring to court.

On the other hand, WHAT WAS THIS GUY THINKING???  Again, I'm glad that things are going OK for him, but he was really playing with fire.  Newsflash - having a sworn affidavit doesn't prove that you weren't going to kill your wife; it proves that you signed an affidavit saying you weren't going to kill your wife.  He's fortunate that it lent enough credibility to his story that the feds decided to drop the charges, but if other evidence lined up against him, it could just look like he was trying to create an alibi for himself.  Let's face it, if a notarized statement that "I will not commit (whatever crime)" was enough to prove that you weren't actually going to commit that crime, notaries would be working nonstop and nobody would be guilty of anything, because they had sworn affidavits to prove their innocence!

There's a third side to this story that has gone somewhat unreported - David Voelkert was actually arrested for "intentionally using an electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept an oral communication" and spent 4 days locked up before being released.  I'm sure the FBI figured that they'd pick him up on an easy charge, and then take their time to put together the "murder-for-hire" rap while he was still in jail.  What proof did they have to arrest him on such a charge?  Apparently his "admission" on facebook that he concealed a GPS in his ex-wife's van, combined with his ex-wife's claim that her brother removed a "small black plastic box" from the windshield of her van was enough proof to arrest him and lock him up.  The FBI didn't find a GPS or even search the van!  I understand that they wanted to make sure that he didn't kill his ex, but they still need to have a real reason to lock you up, right?

And my last question is, will the ex-wife face any charges for her part in the deception?  A while back in St. Louis, some teenage girl committed suicide after she was "bullied" online by some lady pretending to be a teenage boy, and that lady was brought to trial on a few different charges mostly related to the actual deception rather than the bullying.  The authorities take those TOS agreements seriously!


  1. He's lucky it didn't blow up in his face, but good for him =D

  2. Most excellent information. Good post.

  3. people disgust me. hell, I disgust myself :)

  4. The wife was pretty stupid herself for thinking she extract this info with a fake facebook profile. I know I wouldn't friend some random teenage girl that I don't know.