SBSO Sheriff

Lori Fowler, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/05/2013 05:49:54 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Four defendants remain in the case against a group of sheriff’s deputies accused in a decade-long pay scandal.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office originally charged seven people with felony charges tied to a scam involving the falsification of training documents for increased pay and retirement benefits.

But charges against two men have since been dropped, and a third man has accepted a plea bargain.

“Last Friday, (former Cpl.) David Pichotta accepted our plea offer and entered a plea of guilty to grand theft, as a misdemeanor,” said Chris Lee, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office.

Pichotta has since retired from the Sheriff’s Department.

Charges of perjury and conspiracy to commit a crime were dismissed as part of the plea bargain.

On Friday, prosecutors also dismissed charges against Lt. Russell Wilke of perjury, attempted grand theft of personal property and conspiracy to commit a crime.

“After a continuing investigation and receipt of additional evidence from Mr. Wilke and his attorney, we concluded that we no longer had enough evidence to continue forward with the prosecution of Russ Wilke.” Lee said. “Therefore, the counts against Mr. Wilke were dismissed.”

Wilke remains employed with the department.

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