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June 29, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Ex-Lakewood cop sentenced to 33 months for stealing from slain officers’ fund

A disgraced ex-Lakewood police officer was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for embezzling more than $112,000 from a fund for the children of the four officers killed by Maurice Clemmons in November 2009.

Skeeter Timothy Manos, 35, pleaded guilty to the thefts in March in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Federal prosecutor Robert Westinghouse requested the 33-month sentence in a memorandum submitted earlier this week to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan.

In the memo, Westinghouse wrote that Manos’ “criminal wrongdoing ranks at the very top of despicable acts. Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine thievery that is any more brazen or heartless.”

Manos also admitted to stealing more than $47,000 from the Lakewood Police Independent Guild (LPIG) when he was treasurer of the union, beginning in May 2009 and lasting into 2011, according to a plea agreement. He was fired from the department in February after police learned of the allegations and conducted its own investigation.

As part of his sentence, Manos was ordered to pay $159,000 in restitution.

The slain officers’ fund was created after Clemmons fatally shot police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Gregory Richards as they sat in a coffee shop in Parkland on Nov. 29, 2009. Clemmons was killed by a Seattle police officer two days later.

Just days after the officers were killed, Manos wrote on the LPIG website: “Words alone cannot begin to describe how much donating means not only to the fallen officers’ families, but to each and every Lakewood officer. … Many times I have had to stop and recompose myself because of the overwhelming support and compassion displayed by the generous community supporting us during this difficult period.”

Two months later, Manos started skimming donations meant for the fund, he later admitted. Manos spent the money at Home Depot, REI and Costco, as well as a trip to Las Vegas, and withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from ATMs, according to federal prosecutors.

Manos used the same tactic to embezzle money from the slain officers’ and union funds. He created accounts that appeared to belong to the organizations. Manos told federal prosecutors he was the only one who withdrew money from the accounts, according to his plea agreement.

A total of $3.2 million was collected on behalf of the slain officers, with about $300,000 of that placed in an account for families of future fallen officers.

Lakewood police Chief Bret Farrar said that despite Manos’ embezzlement, the children of the slain officers are being taken care of. “The public was so generous, the money that got to where it was supposed to go was a sufficient amount to take care of their needs,” he said in March.

For more on the slain officers, click here.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: embezzling, Lakewood Police Department, U.S. Attorney's Office

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