A disgraced former Mississippi law enforcement officer relieved from his duties in the aftermath of reports him allegedly producing fraudulent DNA test results to deny he fathered a child has been arrested.
This time, former Homeland Security agent and Hancock County Sheriff’s Narcotics Commander Benjamin Marcus “Ben” Taylor, 43, was led away from a Chancery Court courtroom in Biloxi during a hearing in his ongoing divorce case.
Judge Margaret Alfonso ordered his arrest Monday.
Taylor has to pay a total of $10,000 before he can be released from custody so that the money can be used to pay a portion of what he allegedly owes for child support or other costs in his divorce case.
Hancock County Chancery Clerk Tim Kellar provided the information on what amount the judge ordered Taylor to pay before he could be released from custody.
Harrison County deputies took Taylor into custody and drove him to the Harrison County jail. Jailers booked him into that jail at 1:25 p.m. Monday on a charge of contempt of court for failure to comply with the court orders of support that Alfonso put into place early-on.
Taylor, as of Monday, had reportedly refused to pay his wife any amount of what was ordered by the court.
In divorce hearings late last year, Taylor’s wife told Alfonso that it’s been challenging to pay bills the couple accrued together without the financial support from her husband.
In his booking photo, Taylor is wearing a black and white striped jail uniform.
The Sun Herald has attended hearings in the divorce case off and on since the divorce petition was filed in June 2022.
Taylor has gone through various attorneys in the case and, according to testimony, didn’t pay what he was supposed to despite orders from the court to do otherwise.
Since the separation, however, Taylor has formed a business called SecuriTran LLC., according to its website. The business is described as a Mississippi-founded “secure transporter of medical cannabis (marijuana) and provider of cash-in-transit services.”
The business website touts how it was formed by a “veteran supervisory federal agent with over twenty years of law enforcement experience,” and says those who transport the goods are “armed and have extensive law enforcement and/or military experience.”
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the business was created n Sept. 1, 2022. Its registered agent is listed as Legalink Coprorate Services, Inc., and Taylor is listed as a manager.
Gag order issued in separate case
Judge Jennifer Schloegel issued a gag order in April to close her courtroom to the media during the remainder of a trial for sanctions against the former longtime drug agent in another child support case pending in Chancery Court involving former girlfriend Branissa Stroud.
Attorney Michael Holleman is pushing the judge to issue sanctions against Taylor by ordering him to pay all attorneys fees and court costs in the child support case involving the child he allegedly fathered with Stroud.
Holleman represents Stroud, a co-petitioner in the state Department of Human Services lawsuit filed against Taylor in 2020. The minor child that Taylor reportedly fathered lives with Stroud.
Taylor was married at the time of his intimate relationship with Stroud.
The Sun Herald broke the story on the case and has covered it extensively since last year. That coverage has included attending court hearings in that case and that involving his estranged wife.
Taylor has denied fathering the child with Stroud, though Schloegel later ordered a DNA test to confirm the identity of the child’s father.
The judge ordered the DNA results to remain under seal during the ongoing trial for sanctions in Stroud’s case.
The case involving Stroud has not yet been resolved.
But Stroud’s attorney had outlined various allegations against Taylor since he had a former attorney file the fraudulent DNA test results in that case.
The attorney who filed the fake DNA test results that Taylor supplied him for the case involving Stroud withdrew the filings and stepped down as Taylor’s attorney as soon he confirmed the documents were fraudulent.
The Sun Herald first started looking into allegations of wrongdoing against Taylor after receiving various tips from various sources — including some sources in law enforcement — about his alleged wrongdoing.
A federal probe into Ben Taylor’s paternity case
Prior to publishing exclusive reports on alleged wrongdoing, the Sun Herald obtained various records and conducted interviews to provide an in-depth look at Taylor’s problems.
As part of that probe, the Sun Herald learned that now retired federal Investigator Donald Smith in the inspector general’s office for HSI called Stroud’s attorney on June 29, 2021, to let him and Stroud know he was investigating Taylor for producing fraudulent DNA test results in addition to other matters. Smith told the attorney he had confirmed the DNA test results Taylor had submitted in the case involving Stoud “was a forgery.”
Smith also told Holleman and Stroud that Taylor had failed a lie detector test administered by federal authorities about the alleged fraud and other matters.
Smith also outlined how he had asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek a criminal indictment against Taylor for a crime, but said that the federal prosecutor’s office declined to do so.
Smith created a Brady file on Taylor about the fraud in the officer’s HSI employment record for disclosure to defense attorneys in cases Taylor investigated. A set of regulations known as the Brady Disclosures requires prosecutors to disclose such material on officers to defense attorneys to help them exonerate their clients in court.
The fake DNA test results are on letterhead in the name of Hunt’s Genetics and contain “a fraudulent and forged signature of a non-existent laboratory director,” along with a fraudulent notary stamp and forged signature in the name of Dayton, Ohio, notary Donnell Garry.
The Sun Herald interviewed Garry, and he confirmed the fraud.