By Brett Gillin
Only a few weeks ago, Steven B. Pancoast was a chief investigator for the Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department, working on cases with a trail of past successes on his record. Now, he has been fired from his position and is facing jail time after authorities found that the investigator was not only impersonating a police officer, but is also a former felon. Now, authorities are left with the embarrassing task of trying to figure out what can be done going forward, and what impact this will have not only on current investigations, but also on prior convictions.
According to Oklahoma’s News 9, Steven B. Pancoast Jr., 41, was hired back in 2010. The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed to News 9 that in the years he’s been working there, he has handled and investigated several important, high-profile cases. All of that changed when several agents from his office began questioning Pancoast’s credentials.
Soon, authorities discovered something was amiss with Pancoast. According to this article on NewsOk.com, the dominoes began to fall when it was discovered that Pancoast’s CLEET certification was a forgery. Officials with CLEET, the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, confirmed to News OK that they have no record of Pancoast obtaining a certification from the organization. Instead, according to the arrest warrant affidavit, the card was faked and turned out to be an old security guard certification that was signed by an employee who left in 2008.
As the investigation into Pancoast continued, even more disturbing news began popping up. According to prison and court records in the state of New Jersey, Pancoast spent almost three years in prison for larceny and weapons charges from 1992. Although Pancoast denies that he was ever in prison, authorities tell News OK that a comparison of fingerprints proves the allegations to be true.
Authorities now have to answer the question of how Pancoast was able to sit in such a position without these details coming to light. The Veterans Affairs Department confirmed to News 9 that Pancoast passed their background check when they hired him.
“A background search conducted before his hiring at the ODVA did not turn up any information that would have prevented his hiring,” Shane Faulkner, the public information officer for the Veterans Affair Department told News OK. He claims that the department used the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to do the background check in 2010, but somehow he was not precluded from getting the job.
News OK also reports that Pancoast has described himself in search warrant affidavits as a former New York City police officer and a former U.S. Army military police officer, but the NYPD has no record of his officially serving, nor does his resume include any reference to serving in the Army.