David W. Stigger, a Navy disbursing clerk charged with killing a Takoma Park couple, embezzled about $15,000 from the federal government, sources close to an investigation by the Navy and Takoma Park police said yesterday.
Stigger is accused of killing Lorenzo and Diorvett Vener June 12 in their seventh-floor apartment in the Park Ritchie building on Maple Avenue. Montgomery County prosecutors plan to present the case to a grand jury later this week.
Sources said Stigger acted alone in the alleged embezzlement scheme. "We don't suspect the Veners or anyone else was involved," one source said.
The motive for the double homicide is unclear, sources said. They said there is no indication that Lorenzo Vener, Stigger's friend and supervisor, was aware of the alleged scheme. Police have said Stigger, who had a key to the Veners' apartment, was heavily in debt at the time of the slayings.
Earlier this year, other military personnel implicated in an embezzlement scheme were charged with murder. Estella Pearson, a corporal at Quantico Marine Corps Base, was shot five times at a Woodbridge shopping center parking lot on March 5.
Investigators said Pearson, 26, was killed to silence her inquiry into a travel fund embezzlement scheme at the military base. Two women, one of whom worked in Pearson's office, are awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in the slaying.
A law enforcement official said there was no connection between the Quantico and Takoma Park cases.
Sources yesterday declined to explain fully the scheme they allege Stigger used, but one source said Stigger cashed fraudulent travel vouchers and used "at least one" false identification to obtain money.
"There were thousands of checks coming out of his office," a source said. "We have been able to identify only one phony name so far. There may be more."
Stigger worked in the Naval Security Station's personnel support detachment, which was responsible for a monthly payroll of $2 million, investigators said. Naval investigators say $2,000 in travelers checks and four blank U.S. government checks were found in Stigger's car when he was arrested in Takoma Park.
About 4 a.m. on the day of the killings, Takoma Park police officers investigated a complaint of gunfire in the Veners' apartment. Police said a man answered the door and told them nothing was wrong. The officers later returned to the apartment and found the bodies of the couple in the bedroom.
Stigger is being held without bond in the county Detention Center in Rockville.