Pilchen facing state embezzlement charges

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February 18, 2009

11:13 PM

Former Student Assembly President Zach Pilchen ’10 was arrested last month in connection with his widely publicized personal spending spree last September, in which he used an off-campus SA account to buy cigarettes, movie tickets and other items.

A Commonwealth of Virginia warrant for Pilchen’s arrest on a Class 1 Misdemeanor charge was filed Jan. 9 by College of William and Mary Police Lieutenant John Coleman. Pilchen was arrested by campus police at 1:40 p.m. Jan. 21. He posted $2,000 bail later that day.

Pilchen resigned from his position as vice president of the SA Sept. 2, 2008. His resignation came shortly after he admitted to making purchases with the SA off-campus account debit card amounting to $138.51 between April 28 and May 12 of last year.

Pilchen declined to comment for this story.

He allegedly violated Section 18.2-111 of the Code of Virginia, according to the arrest warrant filed with the state. The warrant describes Pilchen’s offense as an embezzlement of money belonging to the College’s SA and having a value of less than $200.

Pilchen’s hearing is scheduled for April 2. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 12 months jail time to be served in a county jail or a fine not exceeding $2,500. Both penalties may be assessed.

According to College Spokeswoman Suzanne Seurattan, the campus police began investigating Pilchen after reports surfaced that a crime had occurred.

Over the course of the investigation, the office worked closely with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
“The College takes any crime seriously, especially one involving the theft of student funds,” Seurattan said.
A letter filed with the state indicates that Pilchen is represented by Richard H. Rizk, an attorney at the Williamsburg-based firm of Geddy, Harris, Franck, and Hickman, LLP.

Calls to Rizk and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office were not returned Thursday.

Subpoenas to appear as witnesses in the trial were issued to SA President Valerie Hopkins ’09, SA Sen. Caroline Mullis ’09 and Deborah Cartwright, an employee at the Henry St. branch of SunTrust Bank. SunTrust manages the SA’s off-campus account.

Upon being reached, Hopkins, Mullis and Cartwright declined to comment for this story.

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