The Whispers Singer Revealed Going To Prison For $1.8M Crime Most Fans Never Knew About
Decades later, a Whispers member publicly spoke about the day he decided to make a bad decision, and how he ended up paying for it. The year was 1980 and you would have thought that the Whispers had all of the opportunity in the world to continue a successful stay in the music industry, but while we were all jammin’ to the Whispers’ new record, “And The Beat Goes On,” one of their members was jammin’ to the sound of ‘cha-ching’ while carrying out a $1.8 million dollar heist!
That member is LeaVeil Degree, who was 31 years old at the time. He’s now very remorseful about doing this and here is what happened…
The Whispers Singer, LeaVeil Degree, Explains What Happened
According to the legal documents:
When LeaVeil Degree was 31, he and his brother David, whom was 24 at the time, pleaded guilty in a $1.8 million stolen jewelry case after U.S. attorneys agreed to drop some of the most serious charges against them in their 17-count federal grand jury indictment.
LeaVeil’s wife, Kimberly, whom was 24 at the time, pleaded guilty to a felony count of possession of stolen mail and then 19 year old Rochelle Florio, pleaded guilty to obstructing the mail, a misdemeanor charge.
About $800,000 of the stolen goods were retrieved.
In the plea bargaining, the Degree brothers told U.S. District Judge Irving Hill that they would cooperate in an attempt to recover the remaining $1 million in jewels and furs still missing. The million dollar jewels and furs were never recovered.
David Degree also agreed to testify against Edna Delgardo, who was 25 at the time. In exchange, a conspiracy charge against LeaVeil Degree and theft charges against both brothers would be dropped.
The federal indictment stated that Delgardo gave David Degree the key to her postal truck, which was parked in the Jewelry District of Los Angeles. It further charged that David drove the truck to LeaVeils’s home, where the two brothers unloaded the goods.
At the time of his aforementioned case, LeaVeil was facing a possible 15-year prison term and a $6,000 fine, or both on tree counts. That fine sounds really small nowadays in comparison to the crime, but in 1980 that was a pretty decent sized slap on the wrist.
Wow, they had a real life Ocean’s Eleven type of scheme going!
His Prior Health Battle
On a side note, LeaVeil had to face an even bigger hurdle years back at the age of 59 (he’s 77 now). He’d found out he had coronary artery disease, having to get four stints placed near his heart to prevent him from having heart attacks and other heart complications in the future. LeaVeil also always makes it a point to urge men, in particular Black men to make sure that you do not allow your pride to get the best of you and prevent you from waiting to long to go to the doctor, because that’s what he says he did.
He’s doing great now with his health and he’s back on stage performing with his music “brothers”: Walter Scott and Wallace “Scotty” Scott. Their former member, Gordy Harmon is no longer a part of the group, and members, Marcus Hutson and Nicholas Caldwell sadly passed away in 2000 and 2016 respectively.
Where LeaVeil Degree Is Now
Ever since resolving his legal troubles back in the day, LeaVeil has become a changed man who has never made the mistake of getting caught up in the love for quick money again. It’s amazing how one bad choice with tough consequences is sometimes needed in order for us to get the message. Here at ILOSM, we love these Old School entertainers and LeaVeil Degree’s story just further proves what we always say: ‘That great success does not come without great failures.’