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State Police embezzlement probe targets Halifax’s chief animal warden

South Boston News
Halifax County Chief Animal Warden Todd Moser, who also serves as vice chair of the Halifax County School Board.
SoVaNow.com / September 12, 2021
Halifax County Chief Animal Warden Todd Moser is the target of a Virginia State Police probe into an alleged embezzling scheme that has been ongoing for five years, according to an email Halifax County Administrator Scott Simpson sent this week to members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors.

State Police executed a search warrant at the county animal shelter on Wednesday, looking for evidence of embezzlement, Simpson informed supervisors via email Wednesday evening.

The State Police search warrant, and accompanying affidavit by investigators attesting to its purpose, have been placed under seal in Halifax County circuit court.

Writing to supervisors, Simpson said he received a visit by State Police Wednesday morning to report on the results of the investigation. Simpson said he followed up that discussion with State Police by calling a mid-day meeting with Moser to confront him about the accusations.

“During my discussions with Mr. Moser mid-day, he readily admitted his involvement to me, as he had done earlier to the State Police,” Simpson wrote.

“Today has been a tough day here in the County,” Simpson began in his e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by the News & Record.

Contacted directly by cell phone on Sunday, Moser declined to address the accusations. “I can’t make any comment. I’m sorry,” he said.

Moser is a longtime veteran of Halifax County Animal Control and county law enforcement. He also serves as vice chairman of the Halifax County School Board and is running for another term in ED-6 in the November general election. He is being challenged for the seat by Lacey Shotwell, a Turbeville-area resident.

Efforts to reach Simpson by phone Friday and this weekend for additional comment were unsuccessful, but in his email to supervisors, Simpson said he placed Moser on “Administrative leave for the foreseeable future,” adding that Moser “can utilize his vacation and comp time in order to fill the leave void.”

Simpson added, “Unfortunately I don’t see an avenue at the County where he is able to retain his position; however, our policy dictates the protocols related to being charged with a crime, and ultimately the decisions related to any conviction.

“At this time, [Moser] has not been officially charged with a crime, and I will attempt to receive a timeline of action by the State Police as to any charges which are forthcoming.”

Simpson told board members that he received few details from State Police on the scope of the alleged embezzlement, aside from the apparent timeframe of five years. Simpson offered no estimate for the dollar value of the alleged theft in his email to supervisors.

Under Virginia law, it is a felony offense to embezzle more than $1,000. If charged and convicted, Moser would be subject to possible jail time and fines, with a maximum punishment for felony embezzlement of 20 years in a state correctional facility.

Following the meeting with State Police on Wednesday, Simpson informed supervisors that he planned to meet with staff at the animal shelter the next morning to “ensure the facility and their field activities continue to operate effectively.” Collection of outside department payments has been shifted to the Halifax administrative office, a change that Simpson acknowledged “may be more burdensome for citizens.”

He added that “we will evaluate this as we proceed forward to determine if there is a middle road for all involved.”

Simpson added, “I am certain this will cast a dark cloud on the County as the community hears and receives the news, and we will work to help our Departments regain the trust of our citizens.”

The county administrator advised members of the Board of Supervisors to “have NO COMMENT on the situation,” suggesting that if asked, supervisors invoke policy on not commenting on personnel matters, and direct all inquiries to Virginia State Police.

An attempt Friday to reach officials with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at the VSP Appomattox Field Office was unsuccessful.

In August, Moser approached the Board of Supervisors with a request to impose a deposit fee before loaning out animal traps to county residents. Moser said the fee was necessary to compel residents to return the traps in good working order. In some cases, he told supervisors, people have borrowed traps from the animal shelter and then traded them in for cash on the scrap steel.

At that August meeting, Moser also asked supervisors to enact a county ordinance to penalize citizens who feed stray animals, a request that Moser said came in response to reported rabies cases in the Town of South Boston.

Supervisors took no action on either request.

After being elected without opposition to the School Board in 2017, Moser was named by fellow trustees as board chair in 2020 and vice chair this year. In recent months, he has been an outspoken opponent of constructing a new county high school, unless the needs of aging elementary buildings in the northern part of the county are first addressed.










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Comments

“NO COMMENT” my butt. Just like what was swept under the rug with Ruth Oakes? Moser must have been taking tips from his old buddy Stanley. Don’t worry Moser, you’re a good ol’ boy around these parts, people will look the other way, I’m sure you’ll be able to keep your guns, while White has plenty others to convict in your place. Don’t forget sobo just got that state windfall that they had to go out and hire an old buddy to help spend. Watch that money like a Hawk!

Comments

Simpson how can you put him on leave? He admitted stealing from taxpayers for 5 years. That’s our money and you give him more taxpayer money to fill the void. He ain’t got no void man. Seems like you covering up. We as citizens deserve to know. It’s our money. You told supervisors to say no comment. You should be fired get out of here man. You are what we don’t need. We deserve the truth Good old halifax Good old boys still here Thanks whoever spoke up. At least someone is honest over there.

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Someone come to you man I been stealing from you for 5 years and y’all crooks over there give him more of our money. Stupid or crooked. SMH. The whole place needs to be cleaned up over there. Who ever spoke up. Thank you. If y’all want to give anymore of our money out I’ll give you my address county finance folks and folks in the treasurer are involved. More to come. State police check them out too! I know they are.

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Forensic audit by independent firm of county books over last nine years. I promise you you will find something. I promise

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Simpson is Stupid or crooked. COME ON MAN! Can I apply for a job steal from you and admit it and still get vacation pay and other goodies? I’ll be over there in a few if those are the perks. He admitted it man what else do you need? Came from his mouth. Fire the crook! You go too!

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Good ole boys! Prime example. That’s why Halifax is dying.

Comments

I recall a former Sheriff was caught with something similar and no jail time nor charges.. he walked free. I will await the facts before casting judgement but it does make we wonder if any BOS received any gits or cash payments for the courthouse overruns of $15 mil. seems that would be a focus point for BCI as well. Now with an attempt to spend $200 mil on a new school, it may be worth watching who may be incentivized to spend our money cause they have a sudden influx of cash or new vehicles, vacations.,... Kinda like the BLM peeps who had no money then suddenly were buying multiple million dollar homes after Biden "won" the corrupt election. I imagine we ought to keep an eye on the Broadband project and which BOS are being wined and dined...

Comments

Karma!

Comments

From what I read, he admitted to the search warrant an the state police investigation. This is twice in as many months a county resident has been charged with embezzlement remember the tax collector? But people in this country are innocent until proven guilty, people seem to forget that. It's funny how one sheriff stole money and nothing happened, another one stole money and went to jail. This is just another game to keep people from watching how the BOS and School board is spending money on the new schools an other projects. But we as citizens better pay up or they will seize your property.

Comments

He must have been taking all that money he was in control of to run the fair too. That explains why its been so awful since the county took it over.


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