Charges against American Legion theft suspects dropped

Charges have been dropped — for now — in the cases of five men previously accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from American Legion Post 28 in Millsboro.

Two weeks after Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) made the April 7 arrests and after further investigation, the Delaware Department of Justice decided to drop the charges.

“Due to information discovered after the time of arrest that requires additional investigation, charges have been dismissed. … However, there is an active, continuing criminal investigation, so we are unable to provide additional details or comment,” DOJ officials said April 29.

“New information came to light, and basically the case just ended up being more complex than they originally thought,” said DGE Public Information Officer Wendy Hudson. “But the case is still active.”

The original charges were dropped “without prejudice.” That means “if these folks need to be arrested again, they could be,” said DOJ Public Information Officer Carl Kanefsky.

Combined, the five men had been accused of stealing $641,100 from the veterans association.

Four men each had two felony counts of theft apiece (Samuel Mauger of Millsboro, James Gallagher of Millsboro, Edward Mazewski of Millsboro and Michael Rooney of Georgetown). The fifth man, Charles Nimmericher of Millsboro, had one misdemeanor count of theft.

A sixth suspect, David Yetman, is deceased.

As of May 10, no new charges had been filed against anyone in the case.

The dropping of the charges was not the result of any kind of “deal” made behind the scenes, Kanefsky said.

“Additional information was made after the initial arrest was made. The goal is to get it right,” he said.

More charges are likely in the future, officials noted. The criminal investigation is ongoing, so the DOJ isn’t releasing many details.

The DGE had previously stated that Post 28 had discovered suspected thefts by six officers (past and present) that had allegedly taken place between July 2012 and January 2015, at their Oak Orchard/Riverdale location.

An investigation began this January and concluded with the discovery that more than $600,000 had allegedly been stolen — a colossal sum to be missing from the coffers of an organization that fundraises with dinners and video gaming machines.

The suspects “wrote and signed numerous checks out to cash, cashed the checks at local banks, and the funds were not returned to or used for American Legion Post 28 business,” stated officials with the DGE, a division of the Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security.