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Lakewood police embezzler arrested again

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Sep. 12, 2012 at 11:35 am with No Comments »
September 12, 2012 2:50 pm

Skeeter Manos was arrested today and charged with new crimes, eight days before he was to start serving a prison sentence for stealing money from the families of four slain Lakewood police officers.

Tacoma police took the disgraced former police officer into custody at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound. He was with his wife and two kids when he was arrested.

Pierce County prosecutors charged Manos, 35, with second-degree identity theft and forgery for allegedly stealing an accountant’s identity to try and cover up his crimes. He pleaded not guilty to the new charges on Wednesday. His bail was set at $100,000.

“These charges are about ensuring full accountability for the defendant,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

Manos, of DuPont, pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. He was reportedly supposed to start serving his sentence at the end of the month.

The former officer admitted stealing $112,000 in donations intended for the families of four Lakewood officers gunned down at a Parkland coffee shop Nov. 29, 2009. More than $3 million was raised in honor of Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards.

Manos also admitted embezzling $47,000 from the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, the union that represents rank-and-file officers. He was treasurer for the guild at the time, and in charge of all financial documents.

The guild requested an audit in May 2011 to see how they were spending their money and within two months, an audit was posted online so members could access the document.

It was purportedly prepared by Roy Ovist, an accountant who had worked for the guild in previous years.

Although Manos confessed to taking the guild’s money, that charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Manos was fired in February after the thefts were discovered.

Months ago, Eric Bell became guild president and called Ovist’s office to ask for copies of the guild’s tax returns. Ovist told him he hadn’t done tax returns for the guild since 2005 and had not prepared an audit.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar then contacted Tacoma police and asked them to investigate the alleged identity theft and forgery. Tacoma police were asked to handle the case to avoid a conflict of interest since Manos once worked for Lakewood police.

Investigators discovered that the audit had been emailed from an address Ovist denied ever using. The emails were traced to Manos’ computer.

“Our department has always wanted to see this former officer held responsible for all of his actions,” Farrar said.

Manos used the stolen money to gamble and buy computers, a television, car gear and appliances. U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan ordered Manos to pay back $37,000 by liquidating his police retirement account.

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