Former Poplar Bluff mayor contests court fines in Cape Girardeau County

A former Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce executive and former Poplar Bluff mayor appeared in court Tuesday in Cape Girardeau County and paid the $1,500 fine on his forgery convictions, but he is contesting the additional costs he has been ordered to pay.

"Scott Faughn was in (court) and paid the $1,500 toward the fine (but) there is still a considerable amount of cost that is left" to be paid, according to Cape Girardeau County Clerk Charles Hutson.

Faughn was convicted in March 2007 by a Cape Girardeau County jury of three Class C felonies of forgery. He was accused of forging checks on an account for the Highway 67 expansion project.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis followed the jury's sentencing recommendation when he fined Faughn $500 on each count for a total fine of $1,500.

Faughn initially owed a total of $5,161.35, which included $1,500 in fines, plus court costs and jury fees, Hutson said earlier. When no payment was received, he said, the county turned it over to a collection agency through the State of Missouri.

Hutson said the agency had a 20-percent fee, so Faughn's costs and fees totaled $6,163.02.

Lewis filed a show-cause order in April in Faughn's case after being told the 29-year-old Poplar Bluff man had failed to pay fines and court costs in his case.

Faughn initially was supposed to appear May 11 before Lewis to explain why his fines had not been paid, but his hearing was continued after Bloomfield attorney Russell Oliver faxed in an entry of appearance into the court, Hutson said.

During Tuesday's hearing, Hutson said, Lewis recalled Faughn's fine from its "collection status" and accepted "payment of the same."

Lewis, Hutson said, set a payment review hearing for Oct. 26 to "see where he's at" in regards to paying the money he owes.

Hutson said Lewis also set a motion hearing for June 26.

"The attorney wants to contest some of the costs," Hutson said. "The big cost, the judge (assessed) the costs of the jury trial" to him.

Hutson said those costs include the $15 paid to the approximately 40 Cape Girardeau County residents who were brought in for jury selection, the $25 a day paid to the 12 jurors chosen to serve during Faughn's multiday trial and the 38 cents a mile paid to each juror.

Even though his fine has been recalled from collection status, Hutson said, Faughn still owes the 20 percent already assessed on top of his court costs.

The charges against Faughn had stemmed from an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's local Division of Drug and Crime Control into possible mismanagement of funds in the Highway 67 Corporation, a group pushing for the future expansion of Highway 67 from Poplar Bluff to Fredericktown to a four-lane highway.

When the patrol's investigation began, Faughn was serving as chairman of the Highway 67 Coalition and president of the Highway 67 Corporation.

In his official capacity, Faughn, along with Bobby Brown, opened a bank account in the name of Highway 67 NOW. Brown reportedly was a friend of Faughn and was not part of the Highway 67 committee.

A fundraising effort subsequently was launched and donations were given by local businesses in support of the project.

As the money was being deposited, it allegedly was being withdrawn by checks written for cash or to Faughn's then wife, Melissa. Bank records indicated Faughn allegedly made suspicious deposits into his personal bank accounts.

At trial, it was the state's position the deposits coincided with the withdrawals being made from the Highway 67 account.

Bank officials testified the signatures on the checks were illegible. Brown denied ever writing any checks.

It was the state's position that Faughn had forged Brown's name on the checks.

The defense contended the evidence showed Faughn owned the account.

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