Another arrest in expanding Front Royal scandal

As part of the ongoing investigation into the misuse of funds related to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA), a second former employee has been charged with embezzlement.

On Monday, Virginia State Police arrested Michelle “Missy” Henry, 56, of Warren County. The EDA’s former administrative assistant, Henry was ordered held without bond at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail pending an initial court appearance this week.

Michelle “Missy” Henry is the latest former EDA official to be arrested in the growing Front Royal embezzlement scandal. Source: RSW Regional Jail

On June 21, a Warren County special grand jury handed up two counts of embezzlement/larceny for offenses committed in 2014 and 2016 during Henry’s employment with the EDA, according to the State Police.

This the second arrest made since the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office initiated its investigation in August 2018 into the EDA’s finances.

Jennifer R. McDonald, 42, of Front Royal, who was the director of the EDA, was arrested May 24 on two felony counts of obtaining money by false pretense and two felony counts of embezzlement of more than/equal to $500. That said, $500 in this particular scandal is only a drop in the bucket.

Last March, after it was discovered that millions of dollars were missing, the EDA sued McDonald, former Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, who had just resigned from office, and others.

Three days after McDonald’s arrest, McEathron took his own life.

When McDonald was locked up last month, the alleged embezzlement figure stood at $17.6 million. It’s now grown to $21 million.

Front Royal’s interim mayor Matt Tederick has gone on record saying this is possibly the largest embezzlement scandal in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Staff/Contributed
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