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#5174: L.A. Businessman ,Secretary Indicted (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Tuesday September 26 3:15 PM ET  L.A. Businessman, Secretary Indicted 

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - A businessman and his secretary have been
accused of plotting to kill the man's wife in Haiti so they could cash
in on insurance policies worth $2.5 million. Curtis Wharton, 38, and
Judy Nipper, 52, were indicted Monday with  charges ranging from
conspiracy to kill in a foreign country to mail fraud. The conspiracy
charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison. Wharton's 28-year-old
wife, Sheila Webb, was killed near the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince
on Jan. 15 during a business trip taken by the couple. Wharton claimed
that his wife was fatally shot by two motorcyclists after she refused to
get out of their rented car during an attempted carjacking. But federal
officials questioned Wharton's story because his wife was still wearing
a diamond ring, a gold watch and a necklace. They said the couple's
rental car was found the next day with luggage, a purse, a computer, a
camera and Webb's passport still in it.The indictment charges that
Wharton, Webb and Nipper had first schemed to fake Webb's death and
collect the insurance. When Webb backed out, Wharton and Nipper decided
to kill her, prosecutors  claim.
The indictment does not specify who shot Webb. Attorneys for Wharton and
Nipper say the two were not involved in Webb's death.Wharton, whose
family owns insurance, finance and auto sales companies in Shreveport,
was arrested Sept. 9 in Florida and ordered held without bail. Nipper
was arrested the same day and released on bond. Wharton will be
arraigned on Wednesday, and Nipper will be arraigned Oct. 9.