The entire five-person board of supervisors for Warren County has been indicted on charges of embezzlement, along with nine other people, \Virginia State Police have announced.
A total of 42 misdemeanor counts were filed against the 14 individuals. Each person was charged by a special grand jury with two counts of misfeasance and one count of nonfeasance, based on their knowledge of and inaction regarding an alleged embezzlement scheme involving millions of dollars from the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Police say the scheme was led by Jennifer McDonald, a former EDA employee who faced felony charges earlier this year. She is accused of embezzling $21 million or more from the EDA.
According to NBC 4, McDonald allegedly struck a deal with a developer to pay for projects that she never started. The developer also received a deal to construct a police academy, which was overseen by Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron. McEathron was not charged, but he committed suicide a few days after McDonald was arrested.
McDonald and McEathron had both been sued by the EDA for a return of the money.
The supervisors turned themselves in to state police. By the time that a news release was sent, 13 had been released on a personal recognizance bond.
The charges were made following an investigation by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office that was launched in August of last year per the request of the Front Royal Police Department.
Since the investigation was launched, McDonald has also been charged with 28 felony counts, including embezzlement, obtaining money by a false premise and conducting an unlawful financial transaction. She was also released on bond.
The investigation is ongoing and Virginia State Police declined to provide any additional comments to The Center Square.
Daniel J. Murray, former chairman of the board of supervisors, who has been charged, also declined to comment to The Center Square.