A federal judge on Friday sentenced Frank Pearson, 45, a former Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) deputy and narcotics officer from Winchester, VA, to three years in prison for embezzlement of LCSO funds.
Evidence was presented that Pearson embezzled more than $229,000 from the agency’s asset forfeiture fund from 2010 to 2013, according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Justice. This included cash that LCSO seized during drug raids and arrests in more than 80 cases. The money was turned over to Pearson for safe keeping as evidence or to deposit into a Leesburg bank.
Pearson took advantage of a change in internal procedures in 2008 that removed third party oversight of seized assets and gave him the opportunity to embezzle.
He concealed his actions by lying about whether and when money was deposited in an escrow account maintained by the LCSO.
Pearson’s embezzlement was discovered by an internal LCSO investigation after Chapman first took office in 2012.
The LCSO asked the Virginia State Police to investigate Pearson and they turned the case over to the FBI.
In his defense, Pearson claimed amnesia, a condition that began after a fall in 2001. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said he did not believe the amnesia claim.
Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said everyone must be held accountable for their actions, including law enforcement officers.
“Integrity and honesty can’t be compromised in the law enforcement community,” Chapman said when asked to comment on the sentence. “When we uncover actions like these we hold people accountable.”
Ellis sentenced Pearson to three years in prison and three years of probation. In addition, Pearson was ordered to pay $229,381.01 in restitution.