Special to the Mountain News
Editor’s Note: The Mountain News received the following press release today from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office describing the theft of funds from a memorial fund established to care for the children and families of four Lakewood police officers slain in a Parkland coffee shop several years ago. Skeeter Timothy Manos, a fellow Lakewood cop, was arrested today for embezzeling $120,000 from the fund, which he administered as the treasurer of the Lakewood Police Guild.
TREASURER OF LAKEWOOD POLICE INDEPENDENT GUILD ARRESTED FOR EMBEZZLING FROM FALLEN OFFICERS’ FUND
Allegedly Diverted Donations and Used them for Trips, Gambling and Home Remodel
A Lakewood, Washington police officer who served as the treasurer of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild was arrested today and charged with ten federal felonies related to the alleged embezzlement of more than $120,000 from a fund intended to benefit the families of four Lakewood police officers who were killed in the line of duty in November 2009. SKEETER TIMOTHY MANOS, 34, of Dupont,Washington, was arrested without incident at the Lakewood City Hall early this morning. He will make his initial appearance on the charges in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 today.
“This is a sad day for our community,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “These acts betrayed the memory of our fallen heroes, their families, fellow officers and all who supported the fund. I commend the Lakewood Police and the Pierce County Prosecutor for coming forward promptly with evidence of these crimes.”
“Stealing from the children of our fallen officers is disgraceful,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “While these allegations are despicable, we should not lose sight of the honorable work the Lakewood Police Department does for our community. I want to thank U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, the FBI, Chief Bret Farrar and the Lakewood Police Department for their swift and thorough response.”
“While I am disappointed that such a serious breach of trust was committed, I am very proud that the Lakewood Police Department was able to ‘police’ its own. The investigation was initiated by a Lakewood officer, and the Chief responded decisively in referring the matter on to prosecutors without delay,” said Lakewood City Manager Andrew E. Neiditz.
According to the criminal complaint, MANOS set up a secret bank account distinct from the primary account established by the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, for donations to the Lakewood Police Officers’ families. MANOS diverted approximately $151,000 intended for the families to this account. MANOS then used about $120,000 from the account for purchases at Costco and Home Depot, for Alaska Airlines tickets to Las Vegas, Nevada, and for cash withdrawals at various casinos. Some of the cash withdrawals were made at the Bellagio casino in April 2010, and at the Hawks Prairie Casino in December 2010. The stolen money was just a portion of more than $3.2 million the public contributed for the benefit of the families of the murdered officers.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI with the assistance of the Lakewood Police Department and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.
Criminal Chief Robert Westinghouse is prosecuting the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.