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Virginia Sheriff Indicted for Selling Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff Credentials

by Matthew Clarke

A federal indictment handed down in June 2023 accused Scott H. Jenkins, 51, Sheriff of Virginia’s Culpeper County, of taking bribes totaling more than $72,500 from three local businessmen to make them auxiliary deputy sheriffs—issuing them badges, identification cards, guns and body armor, even helping one get his gun rights restored.

With a population of over 50,000, the county on the southwestern edge of Washington D.C.’s suburbs elected Jenkins Sheriff in 2011. He subsequently joined the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group that argues Sheriffs—not courts—have the ultimate authority to interpret the constitution within their jurisdictions, so they may pick and choose which laws to enforce.

Not shy about sharing his far right and anti-immigrant views, Jenkins also founded the Make Virginia Great Again movement, and he garnered national attention in December 2019 when he threatened to deputize thousands of county residents whose gun rights might be threatened should the state legislature’s then-newly elected Democratic majority pass “further unnecessary gun restrictions.”

According to his indictment, however, Jenkins was worried about his reelection campaign in June 2019 when he texted a local businessman, identified as “Individual 1,” that he was looking to build his war chest. The next month, he texted that his opponent was “hooking up with Democrats to run an attack campaign” and again urged the businessman to locate donors.

Individual 1 introduced Jenkins in July 2019 to co-defendant Rick Tariq Rahim, a businessman from another county whose gun rights had been lost. Rahim, now 55, did not reside in Culpeper County, so Jenkins leased him a property to make it appear that he was a resident. The indictment says Jenkins pressured a Culpeper Circuit Court judge as well as staff at the county Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to process and approve restoration of Rahim’s gun rights. Once they were restored, Jenkins made Rahim an auxiliary deputy sheriff and issued him a badge, ID card and gun.

Meanwhile, five weeks after they met, Jenkins received a $6,000 check from one of Rahim’s companies. Another 10 days after that, two more checks were made out to Jenkins for $17,500 each, with a note referencing a loan. One was from Rahim and the other from a business associate of his. According to the indictment, Jenkins repaid the business associate but had not repaid Rahim as of January 2023. Moreover, the “loans” and their repayment were never listed by Jenkins on his campaign financial report forms.

Jenkins also made co-defendant Frederic Gumbinner, 64, an auxiliary deputy sheriff, after Gumbinner paid one of Rahim’s businesses $20,000 that was passed on to Jenkins in August 2022. For his role in the bribery scheme, Gumbinner pleaded guilty in federal court for the Western District of Virginia on November 11, 2023, and he is set for sentencing in July 2024. Co-defendant James Metcalf, 60—who also became an auxiliary deputy sheriff after Individual 1 told him to pay Jenkins $5,000 in August 2022 and Metcalf personally handed Jenkins a check drawn on his company’s account—entered a plea agreement on January 10, 2024. A hearing to accept it was set for the following month. Trial for Jenkins and Rahim is currently set for May 2024, and PLN will update developments as they are available. See: United States v. Jenkins, USDC (W.D. Va.), Case No. 3:23-cr-00011.

Despite the 16-count indictment charging him and co-defendant businessmen with conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, as well as federal program bribery, Jenkins ran for reelection in November 2023. He lost to Tim Chilton, the former deputy police chief in the adjacent city of Culpepper, who took 55% of the vote to Jenkins’ 20%. Another 24% went to Joe Watson, who replaced Jenkins as the local Republican party’s candidate.  


Sources: AP News, Bolts Magazine, Culpepper Star-Exponent 

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Related legal case

United States v. Jenkins