AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider was arrested Thursday on four felony embezzlement counts amid a continuing criminal investigation into his tenure as head of kitchen operations at the official residence of the governor and first family.
The indictments were handed up March 20 by a multijurisdictional grand jury empaneled from the city of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield.
The four one-page indictments allege that Schneider, in his role as the mansion's chef, embezzled property valued at $200 or more from the state in July, September and December of 2011 and in January of 2012. The indictments contain no further details.
Schneider, 52, now a Sarasota, Fla., resident, turned himself in to the Virginia State Police and was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. He faces a May 2 hearing in Richmond Circuit Court.
Schneider became chef at the executive mansion in 2010 shortly after Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family took residence there. He was dismissed about a year ago after a state police inquiry began into alleged improprieties in the kitchen of the governor's mansion.
Dee Rybiski, an FBI spokeswoman in Richmond, said the Virginia State Police asked the FBI to assist in some interviews, but that it's not a federal investigation. She said she did not know who was interviewed.
"That is the extent of our involvement," Rybiski said. "It is a state case."
The case is being prosecuted by the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is unopposed this year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination to choose a successor to the mansion's present occupant, McDonnell.
Cuccinelli's office declined to comment on the investigation or its role in it.
McDonnell's office deferred all comment on what it called "a legal matter" to the state police.
Schneider's attorney, Steven Benjamin of Richmond, said in a written statement that his client "continues to freely cooperate and provide information to authorities as he has since the first inquiry in February of 2012." He said that contrary to earlier news reports, his client has no criminal record.
If convicted, punishment could range from a maximum of 20 years to as little as less than a year in jail and a fine of $2,500 or less.