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Second ex-auxiliary deputy pleads guilty in former Culpeper sheriff's bribery case

A second ex-auxiliary deputy has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to “bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds” in the alleged badges for bribes scheme under the previous administration at the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.

James Metcalf of Manassas, in a plea agreement Jan. 10 with federal prosecutors, admitted to paying former Culpeper Sheriff Scott Jenkins $5,000 in 2022 in exchange for being appointed a volunteer deputy and given a badge.

The maximum penalty in the case against Metcalf is a fine of $250,000 and a 10-year prison term, according to court documents. He is the owner of Yona Systems Group in McLean.

Washington, D.C., defense attorney Timothy D. Belevetz is representing Metcalf. He declined comment on Thursday. Metcalf agreed to cooperate against remaining defendants, including Jenkins, NBC4 Washington’s Ted Oberg originally reported Wednesday of the new plea deal.

A June 2023 indictment, following an FBI wiretap, investigation and seizure of campaign funds, charged Jenkins, Metcalf and two other Northern Virginia businessman in the alleged bribery. The indictment alleges the businessmen donated to the sheriff’s reelection campaign in exchange for being sworn in as auxiliary deputies.

Metcalf was charged in the June indictment with conspiracy, honest-services wire fraud and two counts of federal programs bribery.

Jenkins, who came in third in the November election, has maintained his innocence. The former sheriff has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, four counts of honest-services mail and wire fraud and eight counts of federal programs bribery. Jenkins is awaiting trial this spring.

Metcalf showed initial interest in the alleged badges for bribes scheme in 2019 with an email to another businessperson, from Prince William County: “I am ready to pop a little cash on somebody and get a badge brother will talk about that at lunch,” the email from Metcalf said, according to the indictment.

In or around late 2021 to early 2022, Jenkins, who served three terms in office, reached out to the Prince William businessman about building his “war chest” for his 2023 reelection campaign, according to the indictment.

They agreed the Prince William businessman would recruit individuals to make payments to the sheriff and the sheriff would appoint them auxiliaries, according to the indictment. The businessman allegedly contacted Metcalf in August 2022 and told him he could get a badge for $5,000.

Jenkins appointed Metcalf on Sept. 6, 2022, and the next day Metcalf came to Culpeper to have lunch with the sheriff and the businessman who recruited him, according to the indictment.

“After lunch, Metcalf handed Jenkins a white envelope containing a $5,000 check from his company, Yona Systems Group, made payable to Scott Jenkins for Sheriff,” the indictment says. He went with the businessman to be sworn in that day in the Culpeper County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

As they drove there, Metcalf said he could recruit additional “pay-to-play” guys to make donations to the sheriff in exchange for becoming auxiliary deputies, according to the indictment. “Look, I, you heard me say it. I respect what his, I understand what the engine is, I understand how this works. You don’t just get money ‘cause you clap your hands.”

Back at the sheriff’s office, Jenkins gave Metcalf a badge, the indictment says. The Prince William businessman told the sheriff he had “other guys” willing to make $10,000 donations.

“Sounds good to me,” the sheriff said, according to the indictment.

Jenkins suggested the donors make payments to his relatives versus directly to his campaign account if they didn’t “want their businesses and things tied.”

New Culpeper Sheriff Tim Chilton has disbanded the agency’s auxiliary deputy program and is attempting to retrieve all the guns, badges, uniforms and vehicles assigned during the Jenkins’ administration.

In November, Fairfax businessman Frederic Gumbinner also pleaded guilty to one count of bribery in the alleged scheme with the former Culpeper sheriff. He was indicted in June on four charges: conspiracy, honest-services wire fraud and two counts of federal programs bribery.

Also charged in the June indictment was former auxiliary deputy Rick Rahim, a Great Falls businessman. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, three counts of honest-service mail and wire fraud and three counts of federal programs bribery.

Rahim was additionally charged in November with tax evasion in a separate case.

U.S. attorneys in the statement issued last summer announcing the indictments noted, if convicted, each defendant faced up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count, up to 20 years in prison on each of the honest-services mail and wire fraud counts and up to 10 years in prison on each of the federal programs bribery counts.

A jury trial in the case for defendants not accepting plea deals is scheduled for May 13-24, in Charlottesville, before Senior Judge Norman Moon.


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