UPDATED: Goochland treasurer charged with embezzlement

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - The Goochland County Treasurer is accused of using county funds as her own checkbook.

Brenda Grubbs was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony embezzlement.

She had been in charge of the county's money since 2004.

County leaders were tipped off by their bank's fraud department on Tuesday after Grubbs tried to cash a check at a Wachovia Bank in Goochland for $14,000 written in her name.

That's when county leaders confronted Grubbs about the check. The county administrator says Grubbs was remorseful from the start.

"She's particularly sad," County Administrator Rebecca Dickson said. "She's served this county for a long time."

An affidavit says Grubbs confessed she embezzled up to $135,000 since August of last year.

Hard to believe, but Grubbs admitted she wired thousands of taxpayer dollars to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Grubbs was carrying several receipts for large money transfers in her socks at the time of her arrest.

NBC12 tried to reach out to Grubbs for comment, but no one answered the door when we stopped by her home earlier today.

Grubbs surrendered to police but she is free after posting bail.

County leaders admit Grubbs often worked independently and others trusted her to make the right decisions with public money.

"Not only do people trust elected officials particularly in general, but that office has a lot of autonomy," Dickson said.

Grubbs has not resigned and is still being paid.

Other treasurer staff members are on paid administrative leave while law enforcement searches for evidence in Grubbs' office.

She's set to appear in court Monday morning.

Here is the press release from Goochland Sheriff's Office:

On January 24, Wachovia Bank investigators contacted the Sheriff Office to report unusual bank transactions with a county account. Deputies and the Sheriff referred the investigator to county Officials and requested that the State Police investigate the matter.

The Sheriff's Office became involved at 1:30 yesterday afternoon after Goochland County Administrator Rebecca Dickson called to report that Grubbs had attempted to withdraw a large amount of cash from a Wachovia account around noon yesterday.

Virginia law requires the Attorney General's approval before State Police may investigate a constitutional officer. That approval has not yet been granted, and in order to ensure the integrity of the county financial system and to prevent any further attempts to withdraw cash, Sheriff James L Agnew placed the charge late yesterday afternoon.

Grubbs, 56, of Whitehall Road in Goochland, was arrested and charged with a single count of embezzlement. She was transported to Henrico Jail on a $20,000 secured bond.

Sheriff James L. Agnew issued the following statement:

"This is a sad day for me and Goochland County. I welcome the assistance of the State Police once the Attorney General approves their request. There is a lot more to be done with this investigation, and, because this is a continuing investigation, I am not at liberty to release any more information regarding dollar amounts or motives. However, I am thankful that Ms. Dickson and other county officials have been vigilant and proactive in working to protect our county resources."

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