Com­mon­wealth’s at­tor­ney still weigh­ing ev­i­dence in county fi­nances probe

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By John Mc­caslin Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney Art Goff, who six weeks ago was handed the re­sults of a six-month-long Vir­ginia State Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds by one or more Rap­pa­han­nock county em­ploy­ees, con­tin­ues to weigh whether suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence ex­ists to pros­e­cute a case.

Vir­ginia State Po­lice Spe­cial Agent W.W. Tal­bert, who de­liv­ered the state’s find­ings to Goff in early Septem­ber, said the case re­mains “open” un­til the at­tor­ney de­cides to ei­ther pros­e­cute or drop the charges.

“I haven’t fin­ished my part of that” in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Goff told the Rap­pa­han­nock News on Tues­day out­side his Gay Street of­fice, an­swer­ing “yep” when asked to con­firm whether the case re­mained open.

A manda­tory State Po­lice probe was launched in the wake of a let­ter from Rap­pa­han­nock County Trea­surer Deb­bie Knick to the county’s Board of Su­per­vi­sors in Fe­bru­ary of this year. In the cor­re­spon­dence, she cited in­stances where one or more em­ploy­ees failed to follow proper ex­pense and pay­roll pro­ce­dures or else did not con­duct suf­fi­cient over­sight of bud­get­ing and spend­ing.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion, state au­thor­i­ties said, ex­am­ined spend­ing and pro­cure­ment ac­tiv­i­ties be­gin­ning in 2016.

Sgt. David Ost­win­kle of the State Po­lice Bureau of Le­gal Af­fairs de­scribed the gen­eral ac­tiv­ity re­ported in Rap­pa­han­nock County as “a mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic funds” and char­ac­ter­ized po­ten­tial dam­ages or in­juries as “cur­rency em­bez­zle­ment.”

Those con­nected with the probe de­clined to name any county em­ploy­ees who might be tar­geted.

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