Former Va. volunteer rescue chief charged with embezzlement
He also worked as a dispatcher, and is accused of getting reimbursed twice by the different departments for the same expenses
By Jeff Branscome
The Free Lance-Star
SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. — A man who was both chief of the Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad and a 911 dispatcher with the county Sheriff’s Office will be arraigned today on a charge of felony embezzlement.
LeRon Lewis, 28, is accused of falsifying county reimbursement forms for training classes and travel-related expenses, Sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Pearce said. He said the reimbursements amounted to “several hundred dollars,” but he would not give an exact amount.
A grand jury indicted Lewis last month on one count of felony embezzlement.
Attorney Mark Gardner. who is representing Lewis, said the embezzlement charge involves an amount less than $300.
“It’s not an earth-shattering thing,” he said. “I’m optimistic we’ll be able to work out a plea agreement pretty shortly.”
A person can be charged with felony embezzlement if the stolen money or property is valued at $200 or more. A conviction on the charge carries a sentence of between one and 20 years in prison.
County finance staff requested an investigation late last year after finding “a discrepancy on some transactions that had been submitted by LeRon,” Pearce said.
Lewis is accused of receiving reimbursements from both county finance staff and the Sheriff’s Office for the same expenses, Pearce said.
The county repaid Lewis in his capacity as a volunteer rescue squad member while the Sheriff’s Office reimbursed him because of his role as a 911 dispatcher, he said.
Pearce noted that Sheriff Roger Harris was quick to respond to the issue.
“Sheriff Harris holds his employees to the same high standards as anyone else,” Pearce said. “ Any activity that results in this kind of investigation is not tolerated.”
He said Lewis no longer works for the Sheriff’s Office. Kim Madison has been named acting chief of the Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad and has also filled Lewis’ seat on the county Fire and EMS Commission.
Lewis has been a member of the volunteer rescue squad since 2003. He is no longer listed as a member on the squad’s website.
|McClatchy-Tribune News Service|