A Virginia sheriff is facing federal charges after being accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for giving out deputy badges, authorities announced Thursday. Three other men have also been charged in the case.
Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Howard Jenkins, 51, was indicted on eight counts of federal programs bribery, four counts of honest services mail and wire fraud, and a single count of conspiracy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia said in a news release.
Prosecutors allege Jenkins accepted a total of $72,500 in campaign cash contributions from at least eight people, including two undercover FBI agents, in exchange for giving them auxiliary deputy sheriff badges.
Three of the men accused of bribing Howard — identified as 55-year-old Rick Tariq Rahim, 64-year-old Fredric Gumbinner, and 60-year-old James Metcalf — are also facing charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy, prosecutors said.
The purported bribes date back to at least April 2019, officials said.
Howard informed the bribe payors that their deputy badges would allow them to carry concealed weapons without a permit in all 50 states, prosecutors said.
Howard is also accused of helping Rahim get approved for a petition to have his right to carry a firearm restored in Culpeper County Circuit Court by falsely stating that Rahim resided in Culpeper, when he was in fact a resident of Great Falls in Virginia’s Fairfax County.
Howard has served as Culpeper County sheriff since 2012, according to the city’s website.
Each count carries a maximum sentence ranging from five to 20 years. All four men were scheduled to make their first court appearances Thursday in Charlottsville.
“Scott Jenkins not only violated federal law but also violated the faith and trust placed in him by the citizens of Culpeper County by accepting cash bribes in exchange for auxiliary deputy badges and other benefits,” U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in a statement. “Our elected officials are expected to uphold the rule of law, not abuse their power for their own personal, financial gain.”
CBS News has reached out the sheriff’s office for comment but did not immediately hear back.