Targeted in an undercover FBI sting, a former Arkansas sheriff’s lieutenant recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $30,000 in cash.
After receiving information that Green County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Allen Scott Pillow might be abusing his authority, FBI agents conducted a ruse narcotics investigation and sought Lt. Pillow’s help with the investigation. On November 4, 2019, FBI agents asked Pillow to search a vehicle parked on the Lowe’s parking lot in Paragould, Arkansas.
According to the complaint, the agents told Pillow that they were Tennessee law enforcement officers who had tracked the vehicle from Tennessee but lacked authority to do anything more than keep the vehicle under surveillance outside of the state. Before contacting Pillow, the FBI agents staged a glass drug pipe in the vehicle along with a red backpack containing $76,000. The cash was divided into ten bundles of $7,600 each, and investigators recorded the serial numbers.
After searching the vehicle, Pillow reported that the backpack only contained $45,600 in cash. The agents believe Pillow had taken four bundles of $7,600 each, totaling $30,400 of stolen FBI funds.
The next day, FBI agents executed a search warrant on Pillow’s home, his department-issued vehicle, the narcotics office, and evidence storage area of the Greene County sheriff’s office. They found $2,300 in his pants pocket and $27,820 in a safe in his attic.
The serial numbers on the discovered currency matched the original FBI serial numbers. The remaining $280 in stolen funds was not located.
FBI investigators also found documentation at Pillow’s office indicating that he had filed an initial report claiming only $45,600 in cash was recovered from the backpack and placed into evidence.
On November 5, 2019, Pillow was arrested. Two days later, he was charged with theft of government property for stealing the $30,400 of FBI funds.
On Monday, Pillow entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky.
“The vast majority of law enforcement officers are honorable men and women who put their lives on the line every day to preserve our liberty and safety,” stated U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland in a recent press release. “On the very rare occasion that we encounter corruption within law enforcement, we will take every action necessary to root it out. Our office will hold accountable any officer who violates the public trust so that we may uphold the integrity of a profession that deserves our gratitude and respect.”
“The appalling criminal actions of former Lt. Scott Pillow revealed his lack of integrity and greed,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch. “Quite simply, he betrayed his brothers and sisters in law enforcement. Officers who are sworn to protect and serve are held to a higher standard, and FBI Little Rock will continue to uphold Arkansans’ trust in law enforcement.”
Theft of government funds is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and not more than three years of supervised release.