Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Former Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Guilty of Asset Forfeiture Embezzlement
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Frank Michael Pearson, 45, a former Loudon County Sheriff’s Deputy from Winchester, was convicted after a bench trial today on four counts of theft in relation to his embezzlement of over $229,000 from the asset forfeiture fund at the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.
Pearson was indicted on July 9, 2015. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, beginning in 2006 Pearson was designated as the deputy responsible for overseeing the asset forfeiture program for the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office. The evidence presented at trial showed that beginning in or about February 2010, and continuing through October 2013, Pearson embarked on a scheme and continuing course of conduct to embezzle and steal money that had been seized by other members of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office for potential asset forfeiture. The evidence showed that Pearson embezzled money from 80 separate cases over this period, taking in excess of $229,000 that had been entrusted to him.
The evidence further proved that Pearson concealed his embezzlement scheme by making false statements to his coworkers and others about the timing and fact of whether he had deposited seized money into an escrow account maintained by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at a local bank. For example, the evidence showed that on two separate occasions, Pearson re-used an old deposit slip from an unrelated case and passed it off as a new deposit slip to conceal the fact that he had not deposited all of the money entrusted to him. The evidence further showed that in at least one instance, Pearson took money seized in one case and passed it off as money that had been seized in another case, to hide his ongoing embezzlement.
Pearson will be sentenced on June 17, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each of the four counts. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the verdict was delivered by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Virginia State Police. The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office cooperated with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Burke and Mark D. Lytle prosecuted the case.