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Ex-Hall jailer faces credit card fraud charges
Sheriffs office employee resigns from post after Gwinnett County arrest
0106Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson

For the second time in as many months, a Hall County Sheriff's Office jailer has been arrested.

The sheriff's office was notified Wednesday by the Lawrenceville Police Department that warrants were issued for Benjamin V. Thompson, 55, of Lawrenceville, on three charges of credit card fraud, authorities said.

Lawrenceville Capt. Greg Vaughn said Thompson used stolen credit card numbers to make three purchases at Walmart on Lawrenceville Highway, dating back to March. According to an arrest warrant, Thompson made the purchases online and picked them up from the store.

Thompson was arrested and turned over to Gwinnett County authorities and is being held in the Gwinnett County Jail on $33,600 bond.

Thompson, who had been employed by the sheriff's office since August 2007, has resigned, sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.

Last month, Conner Jeremy Comeaux, 20, resigned as a jailer after being charged with simple battery, reckless conduct and discharging a firearm near a public roadway after a dispute with Courtney Ellen Barker, 19.

In August, William Grady Osborne Jr. resigned after being charged with disorderly conduct when officers from the Gainesville Police Department responded to a call of terroristic threats at the Delta Community Credit Union on Dawsonville Highway.

A jail officer is considered an entry-level position at the sheriff's office and does not require certification, but jailers are still required to undergo the same employment stipulations as certified officers, Wilbanks said.

"The background check and the hiring process is still the same for those individuals as it would be for sworn officers coming from a different agency," Wilbanks said.

The jail division is the largest within the sheriff's office, meaning a higher chance a jailer would be involved in illegal activity, Wilbanks said.

"Just from a standpoint of sheer numbers, if you're looking at it from a law of averages, a higher pool of people would be more prone to incidents," he said.

"Whether an officer works in the jail, on patrol, investigations or wherever, they're still expected to live up to that higher standard, as well as abide by the laws that everyday citizens are required to," Wilbanks added.

Vaughn said the investigation is ongoing and other transactions made by Thompson are being reviewed.

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