Reardon gets five years in prison for embezzling

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Sep 22, 2010 - 05:54 PM

Former Mathews Volunteer Fire Department treasurer Paul Joseph Reardon was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison, with 15 years suspended, for embezzling $216,500 from his fellow volunteers over a two-year period. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted in July.

Photo: Former Mathews Volunteer Fire Department treasurer Paul Reardon, left, is escorted to his chair at the defense table by bailiff Byron Vanzyle on Monday in Mathews Circuit Court. Reardon, convicted of embezzling over $200,000 from the fire department, was in court for his sentencing.

Former Mathews Volunteer Fire Department treasurer Paul Reardon, left, is escorted to his chair at the defense table by bailiff Byron Vanzyle on Monday in Mathews Circuit Court. Reardon, convicted of embezzling over $200,000 from the fire department, was in court for his sentencing.

Judge R. Bruce Long didn’t mince words when he handed down the sentence. Referring to a letter from one of Reardon’s supporters that said the court should find out what happened instead of persecuting Reardon, Long said, "I’m astonished that they’ve suggested leniency for a common criminal."

Long said that he had reviewed the pre-sentence report the night before and had found a number of mitigating factors, such as Reardon’s more than 30-year career as a Virginia State Trooper, his advanced age (Reardon turns 75 tomorrow), the lack of prior convictions, the fact that he adopted and raised two children, and his long record of volunteerism in his church and the community. But Reardon’s demeanor and his refusal to reveal what he did with the money didn’t sit well with the judge.

"If he’d come in court with his hat in hand, remorseful, I would consider it," Long said. "But he’s made no effort to say where the money’s gone. His betrayal of the public trust was astronomical."