Friday, June 30, 2023

Virginia Sheriff, Three Others Indicted on Federal Bribery Charges

Charlottesville, Virginia - Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Howard Jenkins and three other individuals have been indicted on federal charges of bribery, federal programs bribery, and honest services fraud. The indictment alleges a conspiracy in which Sheriff Jenkins accepted cash bribes and campaign contributions totaling at least $72,500 in exchange for law enforcement badges and credentials.

According to the unsealed indictment, Jenkins, along with Rick Tariq Rahim, Fredric Gumbinner, James Metcalf, and several others, including two undercover FBI agents, conspired to exchange bribes for appointments as auxiliary deputy sheriffs. In return for the bribes, Jenkins appointed each individual as an auxiliary deputy sheriff, providing them with Culpeper County Sheriff's Office badges and identification cards. Additionally, Jenkins falsely informed the bribe payors that the credentials authorized them to carry concealed firearms in all fifty states without obtaining a permit. The indictment further states that Jenkins aided Rahim in securing approval for a petition to restore his firearms rights by falsely stating Rahim's residence in Culpeper County.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh emphasized that Jenkins' actions not only violated federal law but also betrayed the trust placed in him by the citizens of Culpeper County. He stated, "Our elected officials are expected to uphold the rule of law, not abuse their power for their own personal, financial gain."

Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador of the FBI's Richmond Division echoed Kavanaugh's sentiments, highlighting the importance of law enforcement officers upholding the law and not abusing their entrusted powers. The FBI's Richmond Field Office, Charlottesville Resident Agency, is leading the investigation into the case.

Sheriff Jenkins faces charges of conspiracy, honest-services mail and wire fraud, and federal programs bribery. Rahim, Gumbinner, and Metcalf also face charges related to conspiracy, honest-services mail and wire fraud, and federal programs bribery.

If convicted, each defendant could face significant prison sentences. The maximum penalties include up to 5 years for conspiracy, up to 20 years for each count of honest-services mail and wire fraud, and up to 10 years for each count of federal programs bribery. The sentencing will be determined by a federal district court judge, considering various factors, including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia for their initial court appearances.

The FBI's commitment to ensuring public trust and accountability in cases involving abuses of power was reiterated by the agency's Richmond Field Office. The trial will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney Celia Choy from the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Carlton and Melanie Smith from the Western District of Virginia.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt.

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