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Virginia sheriff accused of accepting bribes for auxiliary deputy sheriff titles, rights

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Herschel Walker apparently isn’t the only one pulling out a sheriff’s badge and claiming to have certain rights associated with the honorary title. A Virginia sheriff has now been accused of providing badges to three men in exchange for cash.

Walker, you may recall, was a Republican candidate in Georgia endorsed by former president Donald Trump, who brandished an honorary sheriff’s badge while debating his Democratic opponent.

Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Howard Jenkins, 51, and three other Virginia men, have been charged with conspiracy to exchange bribes for law enforcement badges and credentials, federal programs bribery, and honest services fraud, according to the indictment unsealed today. The bribes totaled at least $72,500 and were provided in exchange for naming the payors auxiliary deputy sheriffs, according to indictment.

Jenkins is alleged to have accepted bribes from Rick Tariq Rahim, 55, of Great Falls; Fredric Gumbinner, 64, of Fairfax; James Metcalf, 60, of Manassas; and at least five others, including two FBI undercover agents.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

In return for the bribe, Jenkins allegedly appointed each of the payors as auxiliary deputy sheriffs, a sworn law-enforcement position, and issued them Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office badges and identification cards.

Jenkins allegedly told the payors that the law-enforcement credentials authorized them to carry concealed firearms in all 50 states without obtaining a permit.

Jenkins also assisted Rahim in gaining approval for a petition to restore his firearms rights filed in Culpeper County Circuit Court that falsely stated that Rahim resided in Culpeper County, according to the indictment.

“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,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “Our elected officials are expected to uphold the rule of law, not abuse their power for their own personal, financial gain.”

Jenkins is charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of honest-services mail and wire fraud and eight counts of federal programs bribery.

Rahim is charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of honest-services mail and wire fraud and three counts of federal programs bribery.

Gumbinner is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of honest-services wire fraud and two counts of federal programs bribery.

Metcalf is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of honest-services wire fraud and two counts of federal programs bribery.

If convicted, each defendant faces 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 federal district court judge will determine any sentence for all four defendants after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.