- Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins is charged with accepting bribes in exchange for law-enforcement badges.
- The badges come with the ability to carry concealed firearms in all 50 states without a permit, prosecutors said.
- Jenkins accepted over $70,000 in cash bribes from eight different men, two of whom were undercover FBI agents, an indictment said.
A Virginia sheriff took over $70,000 in cash bribes from multiple men in exchange for appointing them as auxiliary deputy sheriffs — a law enforcement position that allows them to carry concealed firearms in all 50 states without a permit, federal prosecutors alleged Thursday.
In an indictment unsealed this week, prosecutors alleged that Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Howard Jenkins took the cash bribes in the form of campaign donations from at least eight men. Two of those men were undercover FBI agents.
Jenkins faces one count of conspiracy, four counts of honest-services mail and wire fraud, and eight counts of federal programs bribery.
Part of Jenkins’ scheme involved issuing the men Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office badges and ID cards, though none of the individuals received the mandatory training for the auxiliary deputy sheriff position, prosecutors said.
The indictment noted that Jenkins was first elected sheriff in 2011, and was reelected in 2015 and 2019. In the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, the position of an auxiliary deputy sheriff is akin to that of a regular sheriff’s deputy — they perform the same tasks and possess equivalent law-enforcement powers, though they are unpaid volunteers, the indictment said.
The badges Jenkins bestowed upon the men identified them as deputy sheriffs, and only identified them as “auxiliary” members on the backsides of the ID cards, the indictment said.
The indictment against Jenkins quoted texts he sent and received, including one from an unknown sender that said a man wanted Jenkins’ “help in getting his firearms rights restored,” and that the man “is very wealthy and helps a lot of causes.” Jenkins responded to that text with three thumbs-up emojis, the indictment alleged.
“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,” US Attorney Christopher 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.”
The Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the indictment. Court documents did not state whether Jenkins has an attorney.