Skeeter Manos, 36, a former Lakewood Police Officer, is expected to plead guilty today to Identity Theft in the Second Degree and Forgery. The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office will recommend a high-end sentence to run consecutive to a 33-month sentence imposed on him in federal court last year. Manos plead guilty in March of 2012 to Wire Fraud for stealing $47,000 from the Lakewood Police Guild and $112,000 from a fund intended to benefit the families of four Lakewood Police Officers who were murdered by Maurice Clemmons in 2009.
“These charges were intended to ensure full accountability for the defendant,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “He previously pled guilty to a federal crime, and now he will be convicted of separate state crimes. We appreciate the work of the Tacoma Police Department and the cooperation of the Lakewood Police Department. Lakewood Chief Farrar and his officers actively encouraged the investigation involving this additional victim. This guilty plea ends a sad chapter.”
In March of 2011, several members of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild (LPIG) requested an audit to explain how guild money was being spent. As guild treasurer, the defendant was responsible for maintaining all financial records and bank accounts for the guild. On July 14, 2011, the audit was posted on the LPIG website so that all members would have access to its contents. The audit appeared to have been prepared and signed by accountant Roy Ovist.
On February 8, 2012, the defendant was arrested and charged in federal court for embezzling from the Lakewood Police Guild and a fund set up to benefit the families of the four fallen Lakewood Police officers. In March, he pled guilty to Wire Fraud and was sentenced to 33 months in prison. His sentence included restitution of $112,000 to the fund for the families and $47,000 to the Lakewood Police Guild. Eric Bell, who assumed the position of guild president after the arrest of Manos, contacted Ovist’s office to request copies of the guild’s tax returns. Ovist told Bell that he had not done tax returns for the guild since 2005 and had not prepared or signed the audit.
At the request of Chief Farrar, Tacoma Police investigated the forged audit and learned that a copy of that audit had been e-mailed from [email protected]. Ovist reported that he had never used this e-mail address, never had any contact with the defendant, and had not dealt with LPIG since 2007. A computer analysis determined that the e-mails that purported to be from Ovist all came from the same computer IP address. This IP address matched the defendant’s computer, which had been used to access the guild website and correspond with members.
The guilty plea is scheduled for Friday, May 17th in Courtroom 250 of the County-City Building, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, WA.
For more information, please contact Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].