Former WTKR Anchor Expected to Get Probation in Fraud Case

By Kevin Eck 

bickford_wtkr_croppedJuliet Bickford, the former WTKR anchor who was arrested in January and plead guilty to filing a false tax return, is expected to be sentenced to probation.

Bickford was an anchor for Hampton Roads CBS affiliate WTKR who resigned in January for personal reasons. She later plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of filing a false tax return after being accused of filing $35,000 in false medical and dental deductions in 2011.

Bickford’s former live in boyfriend Theodoris Grontis was part of a three person crew that scammed crime victims and divorcees out of more than a million dollars.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, The US Attorney’s Office has recommended Bickford get probation and serve a minimum of 500 hours of community service.

In those papers, prosecutors say that since her arrest and guilty plea in January, Bickford has cooperated with authorities in their investigation into the fraud scheme, but they’re not sure she has been completely upfront.

Bickford has maintained to the authorities that she had no knowledge of her now ex-boyfriend Theodoros Grontis’ connection to the scheme.

Grontis has been on the lam ever since federal agents questioned Bickford in September 2011. He is believed to be hiding in Greece.

Grontis and co-conspirators Cullen Johnson and Elaine White tricked crime victims and divorced couples into believing they could find records of assets that the perpetrators of the crime or the former spouse hid in foreign banks, authorities said. Grontis is accused of largely creating those bogus records. The trio took in more than $1 million.

Johnson and White, both from Canada, pleaded guilty here, and each was sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison. They still face charges in Canada.

Prosecutors alleged that even after being questioned by federal agents in September 2011, Bickford filed a phony tax return that hid the money she was using to live a lavish lifestyle, according to court papers filed this week.

Grontis funneled more than $500,000 from the scheme through Bickford’s bank account, authorities said. Bickford was not charged in connection with the fraud or receiving its proceeds.

“Her claimed belief that Grontis and the money he provided were truly legitimate cannot be fully confirmed or dispelled,” prosecutors wrote.