A Virginia sheriff has been indicted on federal public corruption charges for allegedly trading auxiliary deputy sheriff appointments in exchange for cash bribes and large donations to his reelection campaign.

Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins, along with three businessmen, has been charged in a 16-count indictment. They are accused of participating in a conspiracy, wire fraud, and bribery related to programs receiving federal funds.

Jenkins, who was first elected sheriff in 2011, is accused of soliciting and accepting bribes totaling at least $72,500 from the indicted businessmen and at least five others, including two undercover FBI agents during his 2019 reelection campaign.

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The indictment states, “Jenkins used the powers of his office to enrich himself and to secure funds for his re-election.” In return, he appointed his co-conspirators as auxiliary deputy sheriffs, giving them the same law enforcement powers as paid deputies.

The indictment also accuses Jenkins of pressuring a Circuit Court judge and employees in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to grant a petition by one of his co-conspirators, Rick Tariq Rahim, to restore his gun rights. Rahim was later sworn in as an auxiliary deputy sheriff.

Jenkins, Rahim, and two other businessmen, Fredric Gumbinner and James Metcalf, were arrested and appeared in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville. They were released on personal recognizance.

Attorneys for the defendants did not respond to requests for comment. Jenkins also did not respond to an email sent to his office.

“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,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh.

Sheriff Scott Jenkins

Sheriff Scott Jenkins speaks on Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Virginia. Jenkins is accused of appointing businessmen as his auxiliary deputy sheriffs in exchange for bribes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In December 2019, Jenkins made headlines when he vowed to deputize county residents if the newly elected Democratic majority in the state legislature passed what he considered “further unnecessary gun restrictions.”

“I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms,” Jenkins wrote on Facebook.

The Culpeper County has a population of over 50,000 people and is located southwest of the heavily populated suburbs in northern Virginia.

The indictment reveals that the bribery scheme began in April 2019 during Jenkins’ reelection campaign. He allegedly texted a businessman, referred to as “Individual 1,” expressing his need for campaign donations. Jenkins later texted the same businessman, mentioning his opponent’s alliance with Democrats and asking for any luck with potential donors.

During a meeting in July 2019, Jenkins, Individual 1, and Rahim discussed restoring Rahim’s gun rights and making him an auxiliary deputy sheriff. Cash deposits and checks with memo lines suggesting loans were exchanged between the parties.

Campaign finance reports filed by Jenkins did not disclose any contributions from Rahim or his associated businesses.

The indictment accuses Jenkins of covering up the scheme by encouraging cash payments or using others as intermediaries. It also claims that Jenkins disguised bribe payments as money used for firearms purchases.

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According to the indictment, Rahim and Gumbinner agreed that Gumbinner would become an auxiliary deputy sheriff by paying $20,000 to Jenkins. Gumbinner made the payment through one of Rahim’s businesses, resulting in his appointment as an auxiliary deputy sheriff a few months later.

In August 2022, Individual 1 informed Metcalf that he could become an auxiliary deputy sheriff by contributing $5,000 to Jenkins’ reelection campaign. Metcalf agreed, and after providing the contribution, he was appointed to the post.

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