Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
divorce, facebook, fbi, lies



Lies, Damned Lies And Facebook Evidence Get FBI Involved In Divorced Couple's Spat

from the sounds-like-a-movie dept

In a story that sounds like a movie plot with a few extra twists in it, last week a man, David Voelkert, was arrested for putting a GPS device on his ex-wife's car. The backstory behind this is that the ex-wife, Angela Voelkert, had created a fake Facebook profile of a 17-year-old girl, named Jessica Studebaker, and then befriended David to try to "get him to talk" in a way that would provide her ammo in their custody battle. We've been hearing how Facebook evidence has become pretty standard these days in divorce cases, so I guess creating a fake persona to try to dig out some extra info is the obvious next step. David Voelkert was apparently extremely forthcoming with the fake teen, telling her how he had put a GPS device on Angela's car, and said something about harming Angela. He also spoke of taking his kids and "disappearing." Angela reported this to the authorities, and the FBI stepped in and arrested David over the GPS tracking while investigating the rest.

And that's where the case turned strange.

After holding him for four days, federal prosecutors have dropped all charges against David. Amazingly, he provided them with a sworn affidavit that he'd had notarized before all of the incriminating messages were sent to "Studebaker," a letter saying that he believed his wife was behind the account and was trying to "tamper" with his life:
I received a friend request from a one Jessica Studebaker. From the start of that friend request, I was under suspicion that it was not a real person, but my ex-wife or someone she knows. I am talking to this 'person' on Facebook via messages through the Facebook mail system. I am lying to this person in extent to gain positive proof that it is indeed my ex-wife trying to again tamper in my life. Anything said in the chat to her from me cannot be held as truth and I am chatting to this person in attempts to prove to my court that my ex-wife will not leave my personal life alone.... The lies that I am placing in this chat is for her to bring such up in court on the 8th day of June, 2011. I need proof what my ex-wife has been doing.... In no way do I have plans to leave with my children or do any harm to Angela Dawn Voelkert or anyone else....
Federal officials checked with the person who notarized the letter, confirming that it was indeed written and signed prior to the messages actually being sent... and realized that they had no case at all.

So how long until the movie rights to this story are sold?

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    AJ, 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:35am

    Ha

    owned!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:42am

    Way to go!

    This one will live on forever and serve as a blueprint for others. Hopefully he doesn't copyright or patent the method!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      SUNWARD (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:31am

      Re: Way to go!

      I would be careful of using a sworn affidavit in trying to getting off charges.

      He still threatens his ex-wife and still put the GPS unit on her car.

      No defense on the GPS in my opinion. As for the threats, just because he "thought" it was his ex-wife, doesn't mean he could break the law - affidavit or not. Child services may still get involved.

      And what if the person was not his ex-wife?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re: Way to go!

        I would be careful of using a sworn affidavit in trying to getting off charges.


        True, but it did work.

        He still threatens his ex-wife and still put the GPS unit on her car.


        Uhh - what? Did you and I read the same article? He *DIDN'T* threaten her, and he *DIDN'T* put a tracking device on her car.

        No defense on the GPS in my opinion.


        So - lying about a GPS has "no defense"?

        As for the threats, just because he "thought" it was his ex-wife, doesn't mean he could break the law


        Lying is against the law? He didn't threaten her, he told a lie to a fabricated entity.

        I think you might want to brush up on your reading comprehension.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        h, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re: Way to go!

        uh, he didn't put the gps on her car, that's the whole point. he did "threaten" her indirectly, but he wrote up a letter which he had notarized prior to doing so saying it was a lie and he was only doing it to get his ex wife to admit to spying on him.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Steve, 10 Jun 2011 @ 2:33pm

        Re: Re: Way to go!

        You really think he actually installed the GPS device? I think that was one of those lies he swore he'd be telling her.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DandonTRJ (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:42am

    If this were an 80's movie, I'd start a group slow-clap right now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:42am

    Damn. You have to hand it to the guy. That was brilliant. Risky, but brilliant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:43am

    That's pretty sweet, but risky.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:43am

    Give this man an award!

    I guess he knew his ex-wife really well! =]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Michael Becker (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:45am

    Somebody buy this man a pizza. Slow-clap all around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:46am

    Good Lord

    That is the coolest **** I have seen all year. This guy is a frickin' genius, and I'd like to buy him a beer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:52am

    Classic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GeneralEmergency, 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:53am

    Wow.

    David Voelkert is my new hero.

    Just one thing I don't get. Why was he held for 4 days? If the GPS tracking was fake, that means that the FBI would not have been able to find the tracker on her car.

    Did they not even look?

    Or do they suspect themselves of incompetence?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:03am

      Re: Wow.

      Did they not even look?

      They didn't have to look, they just had to think it was there. That's because if you're an FBI agent, you're automatically right about everything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:29am

      Re: Wow.

      What I don't understand is how can it be illegal to install a GPS device on a vehicle (probably one that HE OWNED) when the FBI do it all the time (without a warrant). So the FBI has admitted that they themselves regularly break the law when they put GPS devices on cars? And why do they refer to it as a 'listening device'? Like a 'bug'? I don't think so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bryan Price (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:54am

    Nobody knows you're a dog when you're on the Internet, and especially Facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    those damn /b/tards again, 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:57am

    bitch got handled. David Voelkert is my boy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danny, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:01am

    Owned

    That guy's ex-wife tried to play him and it looks like she got played instead. Now take a moment to realize that if she had been right and he was doing these things people would high fiving the hell out her for getting one over on him. Well it would seem the tables have turned and the glove is on the other foot (yes I meant to say it like that...).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SD (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:06am

    It would be funny if both of their accounts were banned for the numerous TOS violations they've just admitted to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      It would be funny if both of their accounts were banned for the numerous TOS violations they've just admitted to.

      What were his (from the story here)?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Trails (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      Both of them? All the hubby did was lie. TOS of facebook doesn't allow lying?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re:

        Pretty sure Facebook would have to ban 90% of their user base if lying was against their TOS.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          h, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          i'm pretty sure making a profile for a fake person is against their tos, but they don't enforce it much, nor can they.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Trails (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            We were talking about the husband though...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              SD (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 2:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If he threatened to harm his ex-wife it might be a TOS violation.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Jeni (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes, that's pretty extreme.

                I'm torn on this one, human nature being what it is and all... I mean, what he did was pretty good overall and one could kind of say it was "self defense" of a sort, but wouldn't it have been far better to ignore the fake profile and not engage in such hideous game playing? Look at the example he's set (especially for young people/kids). Now tons of people are going to try to play this kind of game on others. Let the games begin...

                In other words, what can of worms did he open up? It may not all be "good".

                On the other hand, if it would make silly women who play these silly games think twice it could serve a good purpose. Somehow though, I can't see it working that way.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Michelle, 21 Nov 2011 @ 7:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I am sure he did not plan on it becoming national news. Obviously his wife is trying to paint him as a pedophile and thus get sole custody of the kids.He did what he had to do to prove to the judge that he is not a bad guy. If this did not work she would have tried something else. Hopefully the judge will see her for what she is.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:16am

    I wonder...

    How would this work for someone talking to adult cops pretending to be underage on the net? People arrested in such stings have tried to claim that they actually thought they were were talking to an adult who was just pretending, but the courts have convicted them anyways because they couldn't prove it (i.e. they couldn't prove their innocence).

    The guy in this case had the forethought to make sure he could prove his innocence. Still, he was jailed for 4 days. I can't help but think that if he hadn't thought to purposely create evidence for himself beforehand, he would have likely been falsely convicted. Innocent until *proved* guilty? Obviously not. More like the other way around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:20am

    Owned. The guy has got a fan here. That was brilliant!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:23am

    True Lies

    "You're just going to walk right out the front gate?
    That's ballsy. Stupid, but ballsy."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:26am

    I hate derailing the point of this story but...

    The FBI can arrest you for putting a GPS on someone's car, but when they do it they consider it legal surveilance. How is that ok?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whisk33, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:31am

    Bullying? Hacking?

    Didn't we have a bunch of laws passed recently that she should be charged with?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Bennett, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:33am

    Divorced Couple's Spat

    I guess they deserve each other. They should have stayed married to protect the rest of the world from the likes of the two of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:46am

    warrant

    It's not like you need a warrant to put a tracking device on someones car

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michial Thompson, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:58am

    Divorce disputes are always funny

    I thought I had heard it all in Divorce Dispute Stories, but this one dropped my jaw to the ground!!!!

    The only thing I question is the GPS, and not that he did or didn't do it, but that the car would have been community property at the time, so what would be illegal about the GPS????

    I have GPS Trackers in all of my vehicles, and regularly let my girlfriend drive them. They are part of the anti-theft/recovery system, and just happen to let me look up where my car is anytime I want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:00pm

      Re: Divorce disputes are always funny

      "but that the car would have been community property at the time"

      It depends on the state. Not all of them recognize the concept of "community property" in a marriage.

      Nonetheless, I also thought that it was ruled OK to put a GPS tracker on other people's cars.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jeni (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:28am

      Re: Divorce disputes are always funny

      Oh boy - kind of has a "creepy" factor to it. Would make me feel untrusted and spied on. But each to their own.

      I had a car stolen in the late 70's. LEO found it by the end of the day. In other words, they did their job instead of letting a GPS tracker do it all for them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    chuck, 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:59am

    one step further...can the wife be charged with anything as a result of all this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ryan, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      Criminal charges over the wife's behavior would probably involve stretching existing laws, at best (a la Lori Drew). It was a dirty, nasty trick, but there are plenty of those that are perfectly legal.

      But the judge in the existing divorce (civil) suit can certainly hold the wife's tricks against her, especially if it's part of a larger pattern of evil. Dirty nasty behavior (even if legal) on the part of a parent is a common reason for judges to reduce that parent's custody rights. The idea is that it's not in a child's best interest to be primarily raised by the more ethically-challenged parent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        h, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:53am

        Re: Re:

        idk, what she did could probably be considered cyber harassment, which i think they're just beginning to legislate, now.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It couldn't, really. It's only harassment if you ask the person to stop and they persist anyway.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            A Dan (profile), 13 Jun 2011 @ 7:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "It's only harassment if you ask the person to stop and they persist anyway."

            I know that's how it should work, but that's certainly not what they tell you at workplace sexual harassment training.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paula, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:13am

    David's sister here

    The gps charge was because it allegedly was said to also have a mic. The "discovered" device was nothing more than a car alarm. To the one who said this would never be on "The View"... actually they called and that's the one he's likely to choose if any (also called was OWN (Oprah), Inside Edition, Good Morning America & others). I'm with you though, I think it should be a lifetime movie, lol.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NullOp, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:56am

    Strange?

    HA, the case turned "strange" when his ex tried to trap him. It went south from there. Charges should be considered against the FBI & his ex.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 12:32pm

    She tried to trick him by creating a fake Facebook account and he guessed it and had an affidavit, then lied about planting a GPS on her car. I can't imagine why they divorced. Those people must have had an idyllic marriage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugh Mann (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Interesting idea....

    Next time I'm thinking of putting a hit out on somebody, I'll write up one of these letters ahead of time, just in case I have to abandon the plan.

    Seriously, while this was certainly sorta clever, he took a big risk. He intended to put his (ex?) wife in fear for her life. Whether he was lying about his intentions or not, there may be consequences for his threats against her. And the issue is not whether he meant it or really intended to follow through on the threat, but whether it was reasonable for her to believe it.

    In any case, it sounds like they're both pretty wacked-out folks.

    HM

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Paula, 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:03pm

      Re: Interesting idea....

      Actually, it was "Jessica" who brought up murder. Yes, Angela advised David to kill Angela.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        sassy, 10 Jun 2011 @ 2:50pm

        Re: Re: Interesting idea....

        Paula - u know it all don't you? Amazing what you think you know!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          CrushU, 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: Interesting idea....

          If you look above in the comments, Paula originally posted that she was David's sister.

          So yes. Yes she does know it all.

          Reading: It's a Good Thing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Paula, 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: Interesting idea....

          and I quote (from a 16 page printout of the FB conversations):

          "Jessica Studebaker" states:

          "Why don't you just kill all of them and make it look like an accident. That way you don't have to leave. Lol."

          BTW, it was also this same post where she asked David to take her with him.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          dont worry about it, 10 Jun 2011 @ 7:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Interesting idea....

          oh she knows and so do I or did you forget your not living with him no more

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            That Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Interesting idea....

            Look daddy... matching gravitars...
            I think they've brought their craziness here!

            Oooh oooh oooh there is a silver box hidden in the engine compartment of your car... have your buddy rip that one out to... to prove its a device that allows the aliens to teleport you away.

            While I am sorry that your getting divorced and stuff, do you think you could behave like grown ups?

            You don't have to like each other, but going out of your way to "win" is going to fuck over your kids.

            I wonder if the 2 of you had put as much effort into working out how to handle parenting your kids as you did in trying to screw each other on FB how amazing your kids lives would be.

            When your kids are older, please work out what your going to say to them about how mommy and daddy lost their damn minds... and work on your apology.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2011 @ 7:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Interesting idea....

              The manipulation has been dealt with for a long time, and the court has ignored it. The ONLY way to prove this woman was stalking him was to set her up, it is just popular because he did so only in a way no one would think. She tried to set him up and he used that to turn the tables. This all would never have happened if she was not a manipulating little b****. He didn't go after her, stalk her, he just seen an opportunity because she was trying to stalk him, yet again, and he jumped on it. There were many factors to him not getting into trouble, not just the affidavit. You cannot just write an affidavit and commit a crime, but with that he shows that he KNEW it was her. He actually did not commit one crime, even without the affidavit. So before you think you can get out of a crime that way, think again, it won't work. He didn't actually commit a crime, and he just wanted the proof in court to show he knew it was her. Otherwise, it would be just his word against hers. He also had to make the 'crime' big enough for her to bring it up in court, I think it was big enough for her to manipulate the FBI into arresting him. I was told that a Gale Dodd from Dodd Insurance is the one that called the FBI, so he may be charged as well. The FBI should be wondering why they are so stupid to listen to these people and arrest someone on the defense of a custody battle. David Voelkert is not the one that is bringing all this out, he just wanted proof to his judge about his manipulating wife. If this isn't the proof he needed, what else does he need? Just so this is clear, he is just trying to see his kids and this manipulating little b**** has been trying to stop his visitation since HE LEFT HER for cheating. The story will all come out soon, just stay tuned.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:02pm

    wow

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JD, 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:06pm

    The GPS was not a GPS it was a remote entry for her key fob.
    There was no listening device.
    He did not put anything in her vehicle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MB, 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:34pm

    Funny but strange precedent

    While the story is pretty funny, this seems like a strange precedent to be setting.

    For example, conspiracy to commit a crime is a punishable offense, and agreeing to and planning a crime is conspiracy, but what if all parties have pre-signed affidavits saying that their planning to blow up a building is just a twisted game they enjoy playing and never actually intend to do it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 9:46am

      Re: Funny but strange precedent

      For example, conspiracy to commit a crime is a punishable offense, and agreeing to and planning a crime is conspiracy, but what if all parties have pre-signed affidavits saying that their planning to blow up a building is just a twisted game they enjoy playing and never actually intend to do it?

      And there was no bomb, they had no bomb-making materials, and never approached the building? I would say no crime was committed, what do you think?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:37pm

    Angela Dawn Voelkert epic fail. Priceless win by the guy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jesse (profile), 10 Jun 2011 @ 5:39pm

    If law enforcement don't need a warrant to track a vehicle, then how is it illegal for a civilian to do so? The main difference between police and civilians is the warrant...saying that police don't need a warrant sort of implies there is no violation of anyone's rights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hmm (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 4:36am

    but

    Is it me or do they give out FBI badges free these days with boxes of Wheaty Flakes?

    Also if the wife tried to get the husband (via the fake profile) to kill her, thats the (admittedly stupid) wife trying to coerce someone into helping her commit suicide.
    (suicide still sort of being illegal in the US), this means she could face prison time (where she'll create a fake persona and pretend she's in for murder so the other big butch prisoners don't shower-rape her!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hmm (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 4:37am

    Also

    This woman seems to have a knack for creating fake persona's that easily get found out....I say she runs for vice president alongside Sarah Palin (they have so much in common!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    locutus (profile), 11 Jun 2011 @ 5:04pm

    Divorce

    Another good reason not to just ban Gay Marriage, but why not ALL Marriage?? Why discriminate??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K.E.Mort (profile), 13 Jun 2011 @ 8:46am

    Classic.

    So now on the GPS, yea if the car was owned by him then there's no issue. It's his property. Just like LoJack or heck OnStar...they can track the vehicle. Perfectly legal.

    Now if it's her car, owned entirely by her then that's a different matter.

    Interesting though the affidavit pretty much covers any matter of sins. It basically says anything I say is likely untrue, but doesn't mention the GPS issue at all.

    It really was a brilliant plan, akin to entrapment on her part really but he turned it around. Pretty sweet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike, 12 Jun 2012 @ 4:12pm

    Am I the only one in the thread that got a kick out of that story? Brilliant!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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