EXCLUSIVE: Former County Fair Manager Charged With Embezzlement

by ARLnow.com December 7, 2011 at 8:15 am 9,066 40 Comments

A former Arlington County employee has been charged with embezzling funds from the Arlington County Fair, ARLnow.com has learned exclusively.

Denise Marshall Roller, 47, has been charged with four felony counts of embezzling from the non-profit Arlington County Fair, Inc., one felony count of embezzling public funds, two felony counts of forgery and four felony counts of conducting unlawful financial transactions. She was indicted by a grand jury in September and released on a $5,000 bond in October, according to court documents. She’s scheduled to face trial on Jan. 23, 2012.

Marshall Roller, a resident of Fredericksburg, Va., had worked as the county fair’s event manager since at least 2005. A county employee since August 2003, Marshall Roller worked for the fair under a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the non-profit that organizes the fair, said county and fair officials. Before being hired by the county, Marshall Roller helped to organize the annual Taste of Arlington event in Ballston.

Marshall Roller’s legal woes started in early May of 2011, when the fair’s Board of Directors discovered the alleged embezzlement, according to Arlington County Fair Board Chairwoman Tiffany Kudravetz. The Board brought the matter to the attention of Marshall Roller’s supervisor, Kudravetz said, and the matter was referred to the Arlington County Police Department.

In a statement emailed to ARLnow.com, Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan said the county acted swiftly after the allegations came to light.

“The County acted immediately upon learning of allegations that Arlington County Fair funds had been misappropriated by a County employee,” Donnellan said. “It turned the matter over to the Arlington County Police Department and appropriate action was taken with the employee. After investigating, ACPD turned the results of its investigation over to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. The employee is no longer with the County. The Grand Jury has handed down an indictment. This matter is now before the Court.”

The alleged crimes took place between February and May of this year, according to court documents. Prosecutors declined to disclose exactly how much was supposedly taken, but organizers say the fair is not currently in financial trouble.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Kudravetz said.

Marshall Roller resigned her position in May, county Director of Human Resources Marcy Foster told ARLnow.com. She had been working within the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, according to county spokesman Mary Curtius. A new county-employed event manager took over for Marshall Roller in May.

The Arlington County Fair, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, went off without a hitch in August.

Kudravetz says fair organizers are considering a new Memorandum of Understanding that would eliminate the county-staffed event manager position in favor of placing several county employees on the fair’s board of directors.

  • G Clifford Prout

    I hope there are wiretap recordings! Did she put the cash in her panties?

    • nauckneighbor

      That’s the best line ever to come out of PG County, “put the cash in your panties and walk out of the house.” Words to live by…

      • drax

        I say that to my wife all the time.

  • demonfafa

    This is what happens when you give the job to anyone from Fredericksburg. Just be glad he didn’t embezzle the pigs.

    • demonfafa

      er, she.

    • It would be interesting to know what this position paid in salary. Did she make a good salary? Or, was the salary such that nobody living in Arlington could afford to live on it so they had to fill the job with someone who lives so far away? Sometimes you get what you pay for. If you pay a criminal salary, you get a criminal.

      • JennyFrom3300Block

        Says she was county employee who had been there a while so she was probably doing pretty well. It’s too bad because I love the fair and the pigs.

      • Zoning Victim

        You can see all of the job openings and salaries for Arlington County Government jobs here: http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Arlington+County+Virginia+Government&l=Arlington%2C+VA&start=10

        They seem to be paying a little low for the Senior Manager of Applications based on the salary and duties, but it’s hard to say since manager can mean so many different things and there isn’t a benefits rating to go along with the salary offered. $130K plus a good benefits package is reasonable for a senior/lead developer or architect, but it’s far below the pinnacle of what someone can make if they work for a consulting company or have highly sought-after niche skills. People who truly manage development teams (meaning multiple teams with multiple projects) make more than that, but they do mention it’s a small team. They could be using the term “manager” when what they’re really staffing for is what most places would call a technical lead.

        They seem to have quite a few jobs in the $80K range, which should support someone living here in Arlington. That said, I don’t think everyone who works for Arlington County’s government should have to live here. I do think the key decision making positions like County Manager and Zoning Administrator should have to live in Arlington. We wouldn’t want our state senators to live in other states, so I don’t understand why we would want a County Manager or Zoning Administrator who lives in another county. If you’re not beholden to your own decisions, then you’re completely removed from the people you are governing, which I think is wrong.

        • Curious

          I’m pretty sure the current County Manager lives very far from Arlington, not sure about the Zoning Administrator. Did we ever get a new permanent one after that other one left ?

          • Zoning Victim

            I’m not sure if there is a new permanent Zoning Administrator. The last ZA, the infamous Melinda Artman, lived in Centerville. I know the County Manager doesn’t live in Arlington, either. I believe she lives in Clifton, VA. These are both highly paid and very powerful positions. There is no excuse for allowing us to be governed by people who live outside our community.

        • El Papa Juan Pablo

          Very few County employees can afford to live in Arlington County. The job titles do not necessarily translate to the private sector. Arlington is lucky to have the current County Manager who was slotted in after a bad hire. I wish the School Board would exhibit similar spine. The rumors surrounding the superintendent inspired by the missive from a hastily departing Williamsburg school principal are rumored to be true.

      • OX4

        So we can conclude that ethics are relative to your pay?

    • Richard Cranium

      The pigs must have been too hard to stuff down her panties.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        LOL! Good one!

    • Ivy

      Thats a good one!!!

  • Pingback: Loudoun County battles on with the decoration vs free speech debate; Woodbridge doctor charged with assault, sexual battery; Deal reached on I-95 HOT lanes; Former Arlington fair manager charged with embezzlement; and Missing VA dog found in Cali., eight ()

  • Art S. Pheyar

    She should be running the ArtisFail! Clearly she’s mastered the primary skill in overseeing that debacle.

  • Grateful

    She worked for the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division which the Artisphere is currently associated with.

  • BarryBallston

    Do you think she’ll get a “fair” trial? .

    • FrenchyB

      Nope, it’ll be a media circus.

  • John Fontain

    Maybe this explains why the fair had to charge $3 for a kid to take a 15 second ride down a slide on a sack. The ride prices are ridiculous, especially compared to prices charged at the Fairfax fair.

    Why doesn’t the Arlington County fair offer unlimited ride wristbands like Fairfax?

    • Rick

      That’s up to the carnies. Free admission and robbed on the ride prices, or pay to get in and catch a break.

      • John Fontain

        Robbed on the rides is a fair statement. The the county should pick a new operator that charges less or at least offer unlimited ride passes.

        With regard to paying for admittance, the Fairfax fair has live music each day and it is usually a nationally known act. Our live entertainment consists of pigs running around (which is fun but hardly worth an admission charge).

    • tom smart

      Because it’s Arlington. I’ve lived here 30 years and they don’t care what you and I think. They think it’s there money to spend and to raise as they see fit, regardless of the economy. They’ve never seen a tax that they didn’t embrace, or a bond for that matter. Learn to suck it up or leave.

  • Rebecca K

    Enough with the idle chatter. ARLNOW — Where’s the beef?! How much money is she charged with embezzling?

    • That won’t be revealed until the trial. But suffice to say it’s enough for prosecutors to move forward with an eleven count felony indictment.

      • Rebecca K

        Shouldn’t it be in the indictment?

      • Arlwhenver

        Arlington County prosecutor is notorious for over charging defendants. Guy found my lost credit card once, tried to use it to charge $27.00 at a local eating establishment and was charged with two felonies, one for stealing the card and the other for using it — no sense of proportionality.

  • Charlie

    Is this PGNOW Or at least DCNOW?
    Protect us oh mighty Potomac river.

  • mickey644

    I think I remember her……she won the third race against “Miss Piggy”. I am sure she will get a “fair trail”

  • John Andre

    Now we know why Citizens for the Classics gets charged more and more each year for our rather modest County Fair booth.

    But why is a Fredericksburg resident managing the Arlington County Fair to begin with??? That position ought to go to a bona fide Arlington resident! The only thing worse would be to appoint a Fairfax County resident to manage the Fair. Our Fair is free for any Fairfax resident while they charge us an admittance fee to attend “Celebrate Fairfax!” or “Fall for Fairfax!”

  • 4Arl

    Good to see that a board of directors was paying attention. But I hope the person is not considered guilty until convicted.

  • Just the Facts

    If the facts as you state them are true and complete, your statement is not accurate. Credit card theft, that is, the taking or obtaining of a credit card or credit card number without the permission of the cardholder with the intent to use it, constitutes grand larceny, a felony. Credit card fraud, that is, using a card without consent of the cardholder to obtain anything of value, is only a felony if the total value of the thing obtained is more than $200.

    • Just the Facts

      This was supposed to be a reply to Arlwhenver above…

  • Crystal M.

    I’m amazed at the ugliness and “kick em when they’re down” attitude of so many people who chose to comment on this. I hope none of you EVER have to be in the kind of place this woman must have been in to resort to this.

    Arlington County employs people all over this region; the fact that she happened to live in Fredericksburg is irrelevant. There are people who live in MD and WV who work for the County. Juan Pablo has it right, few County employees can afford to live here, and believe it or not, there are excellent, qualified people living outside of Arlington, some who have given their careers to providing public service to its residents.

    The County Fair is planned by the Fair Board and only overseen by the manager, who does all the grunt work of contracting with the vendors, getting the necessary licenses, managing the volunteers, scheduling load in and load out, and taking responsibility for issues while the Fair is ongoing. If anyone has a problem with what this Fair actually is, take it up with the Fair Board. The Fair has been run successfully for years and is popular among residents.

    Finally, I happen to know that this person has faced some major family related life issues in the past few years, including cancer and divorce. This doesn’t give her an excuse to behave unethically, and there’s no excuse for a public servant to abuse the public trust in this fashion. But before you start dancing on her grave, try to remember the awful things you’ve been faced with in your life and what, if anything, has allowed you to become so harsh and judgmental of people who have made mistakes and face severe repercussions for them.

  • harold

    amazed at the comments? really? i’d be more amazed at what this half-wit pulled!


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