Jury deliberates Tipton embezzlement case
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 09, 2013 | 3749 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STOCKTON — The fate of a Tracy couple facing embezzlement charges lies in the hands of a San Joaquin County Superior Court jury following closing arguments by the defense and prosecuting attorneys on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

William and Frayba Tipton are charged with fraudulent claim for insurance payment, perjury, insurance fraud and embezzlement.

During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney JC Weydert told a jury of nine women and four men that they should return a “guilty verdict on every charge” after their deliberation.

“You and only you will decide the fate of this case,” he said.

The couple is accused of keeping a 2004 Ford Mustang, 2006 Ford F250 pickup and a 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra without paying the lending companies after their purchases.

“Their intent was to deprive the loaners of their property,” Weydert said. “I submit to you for days, months and years, Billy and Frayba Tipton willfully kept those cars.”

He said William Tipton felt entitled to the vehicles and called the 2004 Mustang his “special car” that Tipton believed should “be a freebee.”

The lean holders on the pickup and Cobra Mustang are Ford Motor Company and the 2004 Mustang was purchased with a loan from the Tracy Federal Credit Union on Central Avenue, according to the prosecution.

“Tracy Federal and Ford credit, and Nationwide (insurance) are the victims,” Weydert said.

Investigators seized the three vehicles at the Tipton’s home, 27771 South Fagan Road, during a search warrant on June 14, 2012.

During his closing arguments, Defense Attorney Russell Humphrey called the case a prime example of “banks and lending institutions winning” over an average person.

“Banks always win,” he said. “It’s extraordinary that we’re here,” citing that the matter was more civil than criminal.

Humphrey said most of the facts of the case were not being disputed by the defense, but he said he couldn’t understand why investigators pursued a 2004 Mustang with a vengeance. He said it was eight years old at the time of seizure.

Humphrey said it was the district attorney’s office pursuing the case on behalf of the lending companies.

“Banks always win, especially when having a willing partner, the district attorney’s office,” he said. “The Tipton’s stand before you naked, armed with two things — truth and your commonsense.”

During his rebuttal closing arguments, Weydert said the claim by Humphrey that “banks always win” was untrue. He said it wasn’t about banks always winning, but instead about two people charged with nine offenses.

He said the district attorney’s office wasn’t pursuing a case, because the Tipton’s could have resolved it by paying for the cars or returning them to the lenders.

“On each and every charge the evidence is proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Weydert said.

As of Thursday, Aug. 8, the jury was still in deliberation.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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