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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson Announce Arrest of former El Dorado Deputy Sheriff in Embezzling Scheme

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson today announced the arrest of a retired El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff who over six years embezzled more than $300,000 from the El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Donald Philip Atkinson, the former El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff's Association (DSA) president, was arrested today on 44 felony counts, including embezzlement by public or private officer, grand theft, forgery and perjury.

An investigation by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office with assistance from the Attorney General’s Office showed that Atkinson falsified official documents, including Fair Political Practice Commission forms, submitted forged documents to DSA and claimed checks were written for charitable purposes but pocketed the money. The investigation was conducted after a request from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.

Atkinson used DSA funds to open bank accounts in his name and submitted forged documents to the DSA to justify payments made to him and his companies.

Atkinson also provided falsified records indicating that checks for more than $20,000 were written for charitable purposes, including a donation for the families of four murdered Oakland police officers. None of the named organizations and individuals received donations from either Atkinson or the DSA.

Several checks drawn from the DSA general fund and signed by Atkinson were used to pay rent for an apartment occupied by a woman with whom he was in a relationship.

Atkinson was also charged with theft from an elder or dependent adult. The victim loaned $100,000 to Atkinson to purchase a photography business from a man with cancer. Atkinson had falsified information in the contract he signed, and bank records indicate that none of the victim’s funds were spent for the purpose Atkinson had claimed.

The case was investigated by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office with support from the Attorney General’s Office.

A copy of the complaint is attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov.

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