Eason faces charge, claims innocence
BARSTOW • Days after Jeff Eason Sr. was reinstated as the president of the Barstow Senior Center, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office charged him with embezzlement, authorities said.
Eason, who was reinstated Dec. 13, was charged Wednesday and is required to appear in court to answer to the charge, according to a news release from the Barstow Police Department.
When reached by phone Friday, Eason was shocked to find out about the charge filed against him.
“I haven’t received any notification in the mail or anything,” Eason said. “There was no embezzlement; it was just a bookkeeping error. I’m kind of shocked. I’m not guilty. Why would I want to take a small amount of money like that? It just doesn’t make sense. I think the DA is just doing what he has to do and doing his job. But I will certainly answer the charges ‘not guilty’ and go from there.”
Eason was placed on administrative leave in October after BPD received a tip that Eason had taken property and cash from the Senior Center, including $3,000 from a bingo fund, a refrigerator and a washer-dryer.
The BPD states that its detective division located the appliances — which were donated to the Senior Center — at two different residences being used by Eason’s tenants.
Eason claims the refrigerator was a “junk” refrigerator and couldn’t be used by the Senior Center or the center’s dance coordinator because it was “too big.” Eason said he put it in one of his rental residences because there was no other use for it.
According to Eason, the washer and dryer set was used in a “barter” deal in exchange for labor at the Senior Center. Eason said a man, who was the boyfriend of a manager of a furniture thrift store, never held up his end of the agreement. Eason said when he asked the store’s manager, who was his tenant, about her boyfriend’s services to the Senior Center, she told him, “she didn’t know when he was going to do it.”
Eason said the missing cash was due to a bookkeeping error.
“We have a committee working on getting our checks in order so that this doesn’t happen again,” Eason said. “Everything is running smooth so far. I’m just happy to be back. I’ve had a lot of community support. Hopefully this is all over soon.”
Eason’s court date has not been set, according to the release.
Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call BPD Detective Angel Nevarez at 760-255-5167. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-782-7463.
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.