The Bull Elephant first broke the story of corruption in the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office this past Friday, prior to any other news outlet or agency. Read it here.
Three days later, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Gellar issued a statement:
The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Fairfax Field Office, at the request of Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman, has initiated an investigation into an allegation of embezzlement involving a member of his agency.
Gellar goes on to state, “The investigation, which began in mid-October, remains ongoing. No arrests or charges have been made at this time.”
Loudoun Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Liz Mills followed with a statement titled, Recent Personnel Moves Uncover Possible Embezzlement. Mills states that “one employee has been placed on administrative leave,” but “[t]he Sheriff’s Office cannot disclose the name or names of any LCSO employees under investigation.” The Bull Elephant has reason to believe there are additional staff members being investigated beyond the one currently on administrative leave. Read the full statement here.
Regarding the title of the release, a source within the Sheriff’s Office confirms to TBE that while recent personnel moves have been made within the department, the moves had absolutely nothing to do with how or whether the embezzlement was revealed or came to Sheriff Chapman’s attention. In fact, the supervisor within the highly-trained and well-regarded Narcotics Division who found and revealed the evidence leading to the investigation was entirely unaffected by the recent personnel moves cited by the Sheriff’s Office press release. TBE will be looking into this further but the question seems to be:
Is Sheriff Chapman attempting to take advantage of internal corruption within his own office for a shot at a headline, making it look as if HE uncovered it?
Make way for the feds.
Typically when there is public corruption involving law enforcement or political figures, there is more than one culprit as chief wrongdoers usually need at least some help in covering their tracks. This is one reason why public corruption cases are difficult to investigate. They frequently involve conspiracies, and years of carefully hidden corruption. Unless someone cooperates with authorities and helps gather or provide evidence against themselves or other(s), the government’s options can be limited. These kinds of crimes are often obscured within a larger stream of regular, legal transactions that can make getting to the bottom of the conspiracy too complicated for local or even State investigators or resources.
Consequently, as confirmed by sources close to the Virginia State Police, the most likely next step in this public corruption investigation will be federal involvement, meaning investigation by the FBI and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. TBE is attempting to confirm this and will continue to update this story as it unfolds.