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Jefferson County prosecutor launching investigation over claims that $15,000 in public funds were misallocated

Jefferson County Courthouse | EastIdahoNews.com file photo, March 2018
RIGBY — During a Jefferson County Commissioner’s meeting Monday night, Prosecutor Mark Taylor announced he would be launching a criminal investigation into the bookkeeping practices of an employee in the county’s clerk’s office.
The clerk’s office has assured him it will give its full cooperation as the investigation gets underway.
In a conversation with EastIdahoNews.com, Taylor provided more details about what happened.
He says a whistleblower notified him of a discrepancy between the financial records in their department and the clerk’s office. Someone allegedly misallocated $15,000 into the wrong accounts.
“The discrepancy is not merely a typographical error but appears to be deliberate,” Taylor says.
He declined to provide names or specifics about where the funds ended up because the investigation is in the preliminary stages and hasn’t officially started.
Taylor says the discrepancy was not publicly known but it’s been something that’s been discussed among courthouse employees for quite some time. Taylor did not disclose when the issue was brought to his attention, but he decided to get involved when no one else made the effort to do anything about it.
“In some sense, my public announcement was a little premature. But I felt like enough people were aware that we needed to get ahead of it and not look like we were trying to sweep it under the rug,” says Taylor.
As the prosecutor, Taylor doesn’t have the authority to conduct an investigation himself. But Idaho statute 19-1116 allows him to appoint a magistrate judge within his jurisdiction as a special inquiry judge to oversee it. That part of the process is moving forward, Taylor says.
Taylor plans to present an affidavit of probable cause to the judge by the end of the week. Once the judge has that information, the timing and details of the case will be entirely under his control.
Since the alleged crime is a bookkeeping issue, Taylor says forensics auditors would have to get involved to determine what happened. He confirms the clerk’s office has committed to giving its full cooperation.
Once the investigation is underway, Taylor says he won’t be able to comment on it.
Though he isn’t sure how long it will take, he says it could take a while and he urges the community to be patient.
“It’s going to involve each office and department within the county potentially being required to provide some of their own financial records so they can be compared with the records that were kept by the employee in the clerk’s office,” says Taylor. “I ask for patience while the investigation runs its course. Once it has, we will share what we can.”

Jefferson County Prosecutor Mark Taylor | Courtesy photo
The post Jefferson County prosecutor launching investigation over claims that $15,000 in public funds were misallocated appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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