- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MADRAS, Ore. (AP) - Jefferson County’s treasurer faces arraignment Friday on charges brought after a resident complained that a check for a dog license was altered to add $20.

The charges cover only a fraction of suspicious transactions found in a review of the books, a county official says.

Deena Goss has been the treasurer since 2003. It’s an elective position, but the county commission has curbed her compensation and her power over finances.

The indictment issued last week alleges 14 counts each of theft and official misconduct, and eight counts of forgery, the Bulletin newspaper of Bend (https://bit.ly/UXfI0h) reported.

The treasurer’s attorney, Todd Grover of Bend, said he could not speak to the specifics of the case.

“Ms. Goss steadfastly maintains her innocence and looks forward to a trial,” Grover said.

Earlier this year, county officials contacted the state attorney general’s office after the resident said a $26 check written to the county had been cashed for $46.

The “2” on the check appeared to have been altered to a “4,” a county investigation found, while $20 in cash recorded as received by the county on the same day was missing from the county’s bank deposit.

The indictment is based on 11 days between September 2013 and January 2014 when the checks and cash deposited at the bank were out of balance with departmental records, said Jeff Rasmussen, administrative officer for the Central Oregon county.

He said the county investigation found 76 such days later in 2014, some involving clerical errors but most still unresolved.

But, he said, it takes about four hours to find copies of the original checks, deposit slips and departmental records for any given day, and the state Department of Justice lawyers said the 11 days of records were enough.

In April, commissioners asked the county finance director to be temporary custodian of the county’s funds and investments. Since then, Goss has not been authorized to accept deposits, make fund transfers or invest or withdraw county funds.

County officials also have stripped the treasurer’s position of health and retirement benefits and instituted a stipend system under which Goss would be paid $30.30 an hour for up to 20 hours a month, and no more than 200 hours a year. She didn’t claim any in June or July, however, Rasmussen said.

Goss was investigated by the state Department of Justice in 2011 after nearly $8,000 disappeared from an account for inmates at the county jail, and by the county commission in the investment of $20 million in county funds in corporate debt notes in violation of county policy and state law.

Both investigations concluded there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges.

___

Information from: The Bulletin, https://www.bendbulletin.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide