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Ex-Marine suspected of embezzling from veterans' scholarship fund

October 7, 2011 | 11:38 am

Pds10-1025-HittJason A former Marine from Pomona was arrested Thursday on suspicion of embezzling $200,000 from a scholarship fund for Marine veterans, authorities said.

Jason Patrick Hitt, 35, was serving as president of the nonprofit U.S. Marine Scholarships Desert Cities Inc. when he allegedly pocketed the money, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The investigation began a year ago when founders of the organization contacted the sheriff’s department, saying that some of the scholarship funds appeared to be missing or misappropriated. Evidence shows that Hitt may have been siphoning off funds for more than a year, throughout the time he served in the nonpaying position as president, sheriff’s officials said in a statement released Friday morning.

Hitt was arrested at a Best Buy in Chino Hills on Thursday evening, and detectives executed a search warrant on his home in Pomona.

The organization provides educational scholarships to U.S. Marines. The organization has given out more than 80 scholarships to current and former Marines.

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-- Phil Willon in Riverside

Photo: Jason Patrick Hitt   Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Department

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