- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The chief investigator for the Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department has been fired and is facing prosecution after authorities said that they found that he is an ex-convict and not a state-certified law enforcement officer.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1N7RUet ) reports that 41-year-old Steven B. Pancoast Jr. was charged Monday with impersonating a police officer, perjury and illegal possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. Authorities said Pancoast claimed that he was certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, but a representative for the agency says there is no record of Pancoast.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Pancoast claimed that he was given a certification card in 2013. He delivered what he said was a photocopy of the card to the attorney general’s office on March 11, but upon examination it was discovered that the card was an old security guard certification card signed by a director who left the agency in 2008, according to the affidavit.

Pancoast was fired March 13.

“There’s a screw-up there. I’ve signed for my stuff a hundred times when I went to my training classes so I don’t know what that deal is,” Pancoast said.

Court records show that Pancoast spent almost three years in prison in New Jersey after two arrests for larceny and a weapons offense.

“A background search conducted before his hiring at the ODVA did not turn up any information that would have prevented his hiring,” said Shane Faulkner, the public information officer for the Veterans Affairs Department. According to Faulkner, the department used the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to conduct Pancoast’s background check in 2010. In a bureau background check that the attorney general’s office asked for this year, Pancoast’s criminal record came up.

Pancoast, who turned himself in Saturday and posted bail, denies any wrongdoing and also denies having a criminal record in New Jersey.

“Don’t believe everything you hear, man,” Pancoast told the newspaper. “I’m saying it’s false. … I really don’t want to be made out to be a bad guy because I’m not.”

According to a spokesman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt, all cases that Pancoast was involved in will be reviewed.

Assistant Attorney General Megan Tilly says that she has notified district attorneys across the state about Pancoast’s situation. Tilly said that at least one case that involved Pancoast in Cleveland County, and resulted in a conviction, may have to be re-tried.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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