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Spokane Deputy Accused Of Defrauding Government Resigns

By Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Sep 28 2011 07:28:42 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 28 2011 08:24:06 AM CDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A veteran Spokane County Sheriff's deputy has quit his job after he was accused of defrauding the federal government.

Brett Peterson handed in his resignation last week when he was charged with cheating a program that supposed to fight crime in at risk neighborhoods.

Sheriff Ozzie Knenovich would have likely fired this deputy for his alleged crime of dishonesty but Peterson beat him to the punch, telling the sheriff he didn't want his mistakes to reflect poorly on the sheriff's office.

Peterson spent 14 years with the sheriff's office, held a position on the SWAT team and was a tough triathlon competitor.

He's the kind of guy you would want living next to you. In fact the federal government sold Peterson his home at half price just so the deputy could help fight crime in West Central Spokane as part of the Officer Next Door Program.

"It's a way to reestablish neighborhoods and you do that by having a presence and law enforcement living in the neighborhoods," Sheriff Knezovich said. "It's a good program."

The program allows officers to buy homes at 50-percent of their market value and pay a little as $100 down. That's what happened when Peterson bought his home on West College. The only restrictions were that Peterson would have to make it his primary residence for three years and not sell it during that time frame.

It's still not clear which provision Peterson violated but he's pleading guilty in lieu of being indicted by a grand jury. He gave Sheriff Knezovich the bad news last week.

"Brett came in and advised me as the result of a federal investigation he was going to resign from the sheriff's office, he did so because he did not want a negative light brought on to the sheriff's office due to the investigation," Knezovich said.

Peterson will appear in federal court Thursday and is expected to admit his guilt as part of a plea agreement. He is not likely to get prison time but faces thousands of dollars in fines.

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