Democratic party chair arrested on felony charges

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Franklin couple face charges for medical fraud


Ricky Sykes

A Franklin man well known in city politics has been arrested along with his wife on Monday, and each charged with multiple felonies related to medical fraud, according to the listings on the Virginia Courts Case Information website. That source also showed that a grand jury on March 18 delivered true bills, meaning there was sufficient evidence for the cases to go forward.

Ricky Sykes ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2018. He is also the chairman of the Franklin City Democratic Committee. He and his wife, Shona Whitfield Sykes, were arrested at the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.

The couple was taken into custody, processed and later transferred to the Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk and held without bond. There was a bond hearing on Tuesday in the county circuit court, which was granted. The clerk of court’s office confirmed that happened, and added that the amount was just under $19,500.

The City of Franklin Commissioner of Revenue confirmed that the license for the Sykes’ business, Joy Haven LLC on 1617, 1619 Dorchester St., is in Shona W. Sykes’ name. Searching online for details about the company indicates it’s home health care related. A call to the facility confirmed that the site is for adults with physical or mental challenges.

Owing to the felonious nature of the charges, the matter has come to the attention of the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Michael K. Kelly, director of communication, responded to The Tidewater News’ request for information. He replied via email:

Shona Whitfield and Ricky Sykes are both charged with the following felonies:

Conspiracy to Make a False Statement under Medical Assistance (1 count)

Conspiracy to Obtain Money or Property by False Pretense (1 count)

Conspiracy to Commit Embezzlement (1 count)

False Statement under Medical Assistance (12 counts)

Obtaining Money or Property by False Pretense (12 counts)

Embezzlement (12 counts)”

He added that the case has been continued to Thursday, April 11, at 9:30 a.m., for counsel determination. He also confirmed the court granted both defendants secured bond on Tuesday.

Reading through some of the charges, the dates for the alleged offenses ranged from April 1, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2016.