A former Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputy was sentenced Friday to 36 months in prison for embezzling money from the agency.
During a March 31 trial, Frank Michael Pearson, 45, of Winchester, was found guilty of stealing $229,381 from the county’s asset forfeiture fund. In today’s sentencing hearing, Pearson also was ordered to repay that money.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, beginning in 2006 Pearson was designated as the deputy responsible for overseeing the asset forfeiture program. From early 2010 until October 2013, Pearson embezzled money that had been seized by other members of the Sheriff’s Office in 80 separate cases.
Pearson covered the thefts by making false statements to his coworkers and others about deposits to an escrow account maintained by the Sheriff’s Office at a local bank. In two cases, prosecutors showed that 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. In another instance, Pearson took money seized in one case and passed it off as money that had been seized in another case.
When confronted by a supervisor about discrepancies with the account on Oct. 30, 2013, Pearson removed several boxes of money from the narcotics office where he worked and never returned to the office.
Sheriff Mike Chapman testified at the sentencing hearing, telling the judge that the embezzlement put all the members of Pearson’s office under suspicion and required thousands of hours of investigators’ time to uncover.
Chapman said it is always disappointing to see a law enforcement officer violate expectations for honesty and integrity. “When we find it, we take action and hold people accountable,” he said.