Ronica Miller remains jailed after judge sets bail at $500,000


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ST. THOMAS - After running from the law for two years, Ronica Miller, the wife of former Schneider Hospital CEO Rodney Miller, appeared in V.I. Superior Court on Friday to answer to local charges.

Ronica Deshawn Miller, 37, appeared for her advice-of-rights hearing in shackles and a red V.I. Corrections Bureau jumpsuit before Magistrate Henry Carr.

She is facing 10 counts of accessory after the fact, for which she could face a maximum fine of up to $250,000 per count, as well as up to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment per count, Carr said.

Currently, her bail is set at $500,000, which can be paid in cash or property, Carr said. The bail was reduced from the $700,000 previously set by the court upon her arrest in Beaufort, S.C., where she turned herself in March 3.

"She turned herself in after marshals worked with third parties telling her to do so," said Assistant Attorney General Denise George-Counts, prosecutor for the case.

Miller's husband currently is serving 21 months at the Metropolitan Detention Center Guaynabo in Puerto Rico, time which he started in January. His sentence began several months after a jury found him guilty in September 2013 of causing, aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false and fraudulent 2006 income tax return.

Rodney Miller deliberately reported to the Internal Revenue Bureau his 2006 income as less than he knew it to be, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Chisholm said in court before District Court Judge Curtis Gomez issued sentence. Rodney Miller stated that his income was $265,198 instead of $510,947, Chisholm said.

Because Rodney Miller misrepresented his income, the bureau collected $39,810, versus the $126,608 that it would have collected had he correctly represented his income that year.

Rodney Miller will have to repay the bureau $86,798 during and after his incarceration.

Additionally, he now is facing separate charges in Superior Court that he conspired with two other Schneider Hospital executives, Amos Carty Jr. and Peter Najawicz, to steal money from the hospital.

The three are coming up on a retrial that thus far has faced many delays and may be pushed back until 2015.

The three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The charges that Ronica Miller is facing are tied to the charges that her husband currently is facing in Superior Court and are entirely separate from those he was found guilty of in federal court.

According to prosecutors, Ronica Miller, between July 23, 2012, and July 26, 2012, withdrew $421,900 from one of the accounts that her husband is believed to have siphoned funds into from the hospital. The account was restricted in November 2008 after allegations surfaced against her husband, Rodney Miller, according to an affidavit written by the case's lead investigator, Nick Peru of the Office of the V.I. Inspector General.

Ronica Miller was fully aware of the status of the account, Peru wrote, as she had been with her husband in court on multiple occasions, during which time authorities informed and updated the court about the freezing of certain assets.

"Ronica Miller has appeared with Rodney Miller Sr. in court pursuant to this matter on several occasions and was on notice of the court's restrictions," Peru wrote.

Yet, Miller withdrew - on 10 occasions - funds from the accounts that were "restrained," according to Peru, who noted that it may have been a "possible bank error that temporarily lifted the restriction" and allowed her to withdraw from the accounts.

According to Peru's affidavit, the instances when she was able to withdraw money from the accounts, which held $700,000 altogether, included:

- July 23, 2012 - withdrew $600 via an ATM.

- July 23, 2012 - cashed a $9,300 personal check.

- July 23, 2012 - transferred monies at five different times to a personal, unrestrained account in the amount of: $2,000 at 10:45 a.m.; $5,000 at 10:46 a.m.; $50,000 at 10:48 a.m.; $250,000 at 10:52 a.m.; and $67,000 at 4:57 p.m.

- July 24, 2012 - transferred additional monies to personal, unrestrained account in the amount of $30,000.

- July 26, 2012 - transferred additional monies to personal, unrestrained account in amount of $2,000.

- July 26, 2012 - withdrew $6,000 in cash.

Ronica Miller has not yet entered a plea to the charges, and her arraignment is scheduled for April 24.

This is not the first time Ronica Miller has been arrested on the same warrant.

She initially was arrested in South Carolina on Oct. 17, 2012, on the Virgin Islands warrant.

She was booked into the detention center there and later released on a bond after the judge set $100,000 bail.

At the time, she fought extradition, forcing V.I. prosecutors to go through a formal governor's warrant process to extradite her, George-Counts said in court Friday.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley issued the warrant on March 28, 2013, by which point Ronica Miller was nowhere to found, including the Beaufort, S.C., residence that she had given to the court.

The fact that Ronica Miller has a history of disappearing, George-Counts said, is reason enough to maintain a high bail.

Ronica Miller also has no ties to the territory, nor reason to be released, George-Counts said.

In January, before Rodney Miller was sentenced, he said that his wife had abandoned him and their three children - two boys, ages 12 and 14, and an 18-year-old daughter.

Additionally, the V.I. Attorney General's Office is uncertain of how much money Ronica Miller has in her possession, George-Counts said.

Until Ronica Miller meets bail, she is remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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