Search warrants reveal items seized in Fox raids

Members of the Rhode Island State Police were at the office and home of House Speaker Gordon Fox on March 21, 2014.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Newly unsealed search warrants from last year’s dramatic raids on Gordon Fox’s home and State House offices reveal investigators seized everything from computers to Tiffany’s receipts and even mail delivered that day.

The court documents show the search warrant to raid Fox’s home was signed a week prior to the March 21 raids, while the document to authorize a search of his State House offices was signed at 11:15 a.m. on the morning of the raids.

Both search warrants were authorized by U.S. Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond, son of the former governor.

According to the affidavit requesting the warrants, Fox gave consent on the day of the raids for investigators to search his State House offices.

“In addition, Fox admitted to agents that he executed the transfers of campaign funds from his campaign account to his personal accounts to pay for personal expenses and that he knew his conduct was unlawful,” FBI agent James Pitcavage wrote in the affidavit.

As Target 12 first reported last April, investigators also paid a visit to Fox’s longtime executive assistant Ruth Desmarais at her East Providence home.

Court documents show Desmarais told agents the documents they were seeking were located inside the offices of the State House.
“Ms. Desmarais states [not stated?] that she did not believe she was authorized to consent to search her office because it was a State of Rhode Island office,” Pitcavage wrote.

Investigators decided to seek a judge’s permission to raid the State House out of an “abundance of caution,” he wrote.

At the State House, state and federal agents were focused on the third-floor suite of rooms associated with the House speaker: Rooms 321, 322 and 323.

In-Depth: Contents of Fox's campaign account from 2008 - present >>
Interactive: Contents of Fox’s campaign account from 2008 – present »

A description of items seized from the offices was filed with the court five days after the raid. Among the dozens of items carted away were four government-owned computer hard drives, campaign-related flyers, materials and checks.

They also removed several binders, one labeled “RI ethics commission,” as well as bank statements, receipts and deposit slips. Investigators seized two folders labeled “Christmas 2011 and Christmas 2013,” as well.

On the other side of the city at Fox’s then-home at 11 Gorton Street on the East Side, investigators were serving another search warrant.

Agents took “mail recovered from mailbox 3/21/2014,” two computers, three hard drives – two listed as government-owned – a BlackBerry phone, bank receipts and “miscellaneous” documents. They also seized receipts from Tiffany’s and a safe deposit box key for People’s Bank.

The documents show Fox’s husband, Marcus LaFond, signed a copy of the inventory sheet following the raid.

The search warrants were unsealed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan on Tuesday.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRI

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