Former Skagit County sheriff’s deputy indicted on wire fraud charges
A former Skagit County sheriff’s deputy was indicted in federal court Thursday on five wire fraud charges.
Brian Lehr is accused of using more than $35,000 from the Pacific Northwest Police Detection Dog Association — of which he was the treasurer — for his own purposes, court records filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle state.
According to its website, the organization provides training and certification for drug detection dogs in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia.
Suspicions about Lehr arose after the board of the dog association replaced him as treasurer in May 2015.
The King County Sheriff’s Office deputy who replaced Lehr as treasurer found most of the files on the organization’s laptop had been deleted and there appeared to be no accounting system in place.
The deputy reached out to the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office in November 2015.
In December of that year, Lehr was placed on administrative leave from the Sheriff’s Office, and the department began an internal investigation.
About that time, the FBI also began an investigation into Lehr’s conduct.
Lehr had worked at the Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. His employment was terminated in June 2016.
According to grand jury documents filed Thursday, the FBI’s investigation concluded Lehr had spent the association’s money on several personal expenditures since at least 2010.
Those included paying his cable and cellphone bills, personal meals and hotel stays, and purchases at stores such as Costco.
“I ask my deputies to have impeccable standards,” Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt told the Skagit Valley Herald after Lehr’s termination. “How does that look to the public if I have a deputy that is potentially stealing, when that is what we arrest people for? We have to be above reproach and anything less is not acceptable.”