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Shooting Suspect Was Subject of Embezzlement Probe

By Bill Turque and Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Herndon man shot by police in an exchange of gunfire near Springfield Mall over the weekend was the target of a high-profile investigation into the theft of $2.2 million from hundreds of condominium and homeowners associations.

Jeffrey S. Koger, 38, was in custody yesterday at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he remains in serious condition and was charged with attempted capital murder of a Virginia state trooper. No officers were injured in the shootout, but shotgun pellets pierced the pants of two Metro Transit officers, police said.

Koger is also suspected of three unprovoked shootings minutes before the police shootout, first of a cabdriver in Alexandria, then of two men waiting outside the Fairfax County police station in Franconia. All three men remained hospitalized yesterday, one in critical condition, but all were expected to live.

Koger is the former chief financial officer of Koger Management Group, a Fairfax City firm that collected assessments and handled other business for about 400 Northern Virginia condominium and homeowners groups.

A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge placed the firm under court supervision Feb. 26, 2007, after the Virginia Real Estate Board and the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation identified Koger in a complaint as "the likely primary culprit" for embezzlement of association funds between 2004 and 2006. In July, a forensic accountant hired by the real estate board said about $2.2 million was missing.

Koger, a son of the company's founder, Robert A. Koger, left the firm at the end of 2006. The firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last February. Robert Koger did not return phone messages yesterday. In an interview last year, the elder Koger said that he was estranged from his son and that his son was suffering from "major medical problems."

No charges related to the missing money have been filed. Fairfax City police announced an investigation a year ago but have made no public statement since. Lisa Mendelsohn, special agent and spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation office in Alexandria, declined to comment. But several sources familiar with the case said that Jeffrey Koger is the target and that federal charges were likely.

Saturday's events began shortly before 3 a.m., when a cabdriver with a passenger stopped at a light at Seminary Road and North Beauregard Street in Alexandria, said Lt. James Bartlett, an Alexandria police spokesman. A car pulled up behind him, the driver climbed out, walked up to the cabdriver's window and fired multiple rounds into the cab, hitting the driver, Bartlett said.

No one has been charged in the shooting of the cabdriver, a 35-year-old Silver Spring man, but police are investigating whether it was linked to the shootings in Fairfax, Bartlett said.

About 20 minutes later, police believe Koger, driving a 1990 Jeep Cherokee, began ramming another car on Franconia Road. The driver of that car pulled into the Franconia District police station to seek help, police said.

The driver of the Cherokee also pulled into the station, where two 26-year-old men were in the parking lot, one inside his car and one outside. Police believe the gunman fired once at each man. One was wounded in the chest; the other, in the arm. The gunman then drove away.

A witness began following the gunman, who then stopped on Franconia Road. The witness flagged down a state trooper, telling the trooper that the man was armed. The trooper, who had gotten out of his car, backed away, Fairfax police officer Don Gotthardt said, and the gunman drove off, pursued by the trooper, a car with three Metro Transit officers and several Fairfax officers.

The gunman crashed the Cherokee into a traffic light control box near Springfield Mall. He climbed out carrying a shotgun, and Gotthardt said he used the control box as cover.

The gunman fired one round at his pursuers. Investigators believe three Fairfax officers, one trooper and two Metro officers returned fire. The gunman, who police identified as Koger, was hit once in the midsection. The three Fairfax officers who fired, ages 23, 24 and 28, were placed on routine administrative leave with pay while the case is being investigated.

Koger's arrest was preceded by a series of legal actions and business disputes that had sent him into a downward spiral, according to a business associate.

In October, a lawsuit alleged that a large portion of the missing homeowners association money might have been invested in a sushi and steak restaurant that opened on Capitol Hill last summer. The suit, brought by Jordan Cappolla, majority partner of Jordan's 8, said Koger's wife, Amber Lynn Koger, invested more than $800,000 in the venture.

Cappolla, who said he has been interviewed by IRS agents, said in the suit that although Amber Koger assured him the money was hers, Jeff Koger made the payments to the restaurant partnership in checks and cash.

Cappolla described Koger's behavior as disturbing. In September, Koger, who had spent a lot of time at the restaurant, got into a dispute with a vendor, and Cappolla said he asked Koger to leave. When Koger refused, Cappolla called the police.

Cappolla said yesterday that he had Koger formally barred from the restaurant about 10 days ago after Koger returned "in tattered jeans and a hoodie," walked around for a few minutes without saying anything and left. Cappolla said he again called police, who stopped Koger for questioning near the restaurant. Koger had no identification and said he was "just watching over my investment."

Last week, Cappolla said, he was awakened at 1:30 a.m. by a series of text messages from Koger's phone number. Among the messages, he said, were, "You know I love you," and "You can run but you can't hide."

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