County officials in Virginia charged in ongoing embezzlement investigation

Virginia News

Newly appointed Prince George County Attorney implicated

courtesy of WDVM

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WRIC) — A special grand jury indicted 14 current and former Warren County officials last week amid an ongoing probe into the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. The investigation, which came at the request of Front Royal police, began in 2018.

Fourteen individuals were charged by the grand jury with misdemeanors, two counts of misfeasance and a count of nonfeasance, Virginia State Police said Tuesday, due to their “knowledge of and inaction of the EDA’s mismanagement of funds.”

The 14 current and former officials indicted (listed below) include all the members of the county’s board of supervisors and former county attorney Daniel Whitten, who was appointed as the new Prince George County Attorney earlier this month.

Daniel Whitten (photo courtesy princegeorgeva.org)

Whitten took over as county September 16 after the board of supervisors unanimously supported his appointment back in August.

According to an announcement posted on Prince George County’s website, Whitten is a graduate of the William & Mary School of Law and received his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia.

Below is a list of the other 13 current and former Warren County officials who have been indicted:

  • Mark A. Baker, 53, of Front Royal, Va.
  • William M. Biggs, 77, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Alexander G. Blanton, 72, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Tony F. Carter, 59, of Linden, Va.
  • Luke G. Drescher, 59, of Middletown, Va.
  • Bruce N. Drummond, 68, of Linden, Va.
  • Archie A. Fox, 78, of Strasburg, Va.
  • Linda P. Glavis, 75, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Ronald L. Llewellyn, 66, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Daniel J. Murray Jr., 72, of Middletown, Va.
  • Thomas E. Patteson III, 73, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Thomas H. Sayre, 54, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Douglas P. Stanley, 50, of Front Royal, Va.
  • Daniel N. Whitten, 36, of Front Royal, Va.

Warren County Administrator Douglas Stanley and Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Luke Drescher were also indicted by the grand jury.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors released a statement in response to the misdemeanor charges and investigation. Dan Murray, the County Board Chairman and one of the people charged on Sept. 20, said in part:

The EDA, through its Board and staff, provides a vital mission to our community by working to expand investment and creating jobs. Since the mid-1990s, the EDA has worked to create over 2,500 jobs and $500 million in investments in the Route 340/522 corridor. This activity allowed Front Royal-Warren County to recover from the loss of its largest taxpayer and employer, Avtex, which was shuttered in 1989. This effort took the hard work of many individuals and the financial support of the community.

We know over the past few years that citizens have raised issues to the Board of Supervisors and staff. Please know that while citizens may not have seen any visible or public response to those concerns, the issues were certainly noted and looked into. When additional information was brought forward, including the concerns raised by the Town relative to the debt service payments, this ultimately led to the Board’s encouragement and financial support for the County Attorney’s hiring of a forensic auditor to perform a thorough and complete review of the EDA finances for the past 13 years.

At the time, the Board of Supervisors was not sure if the issues were simply accounting errors or something far more concerning. The audit left open the potential to continue to dive deeper if and when any such issues were identified, and as we now know, the issues do indeed run much deeper and appear to show a long period of misuse of funds that hurt the reputation of the EDA, the Town of Front Royal, and Warren County. As problems were identified by the forensic auditors, the County also assisted the EDA Board of Directors by retaining the law firm of Sands Anderson to help identify legal issues and pursue appropriate methods for the recovery of identified funds.”

Warren County Board Chairman Dan Murray

State Police said that all those indicted, except for Whitten, turned themselves in on Tuesday and were released on a personal recognizance bond. Whitten is scheduled to meet with the magistrate and authorities on Wednesday.

This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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