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- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
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Former county auditor hired to check prosecutor's funds
Cape Girardeau County has hired former auditor Weldon Macke to help clean up the books left behind by a restitution clerk who was recently arrested for embezzling funds from the prosecutor's office.
Monica Krauss, a four-year employee of the office, was charged last week with three counts of forgery and one of stealing $958.69 after an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
At Thursday's meeting, the county commission authorized the temporary hiring of Macke to balance the books and make sure no more money is missing. The action item was not listed on the agenda.
Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said he wanted to make sure the books were balanced correctly so people couldn't come in later and say they already paid their restitution and that it had been stolen.
"We are sending letters to anyone ordered to pay restitution the last four years," Swingle said. "If they have a probation officer, we're working with them to make sure everybody is on the same page. If they don't have a probation officer, we're having them talk to our new restitution clerk."
Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones said Macke will be paid $15 per hour for his work.
He said the outside source was hired to ease any perception that the county was covering something up.
Police say Krauss took several checks that were submitted by defendants to pay restitution to victims. She then changed the names on some of them and converted them to her own use.
When police confronted Krauss earlier this month, she initially said the checks had been lost, a probable cause statement says. Later that same day, Krauss purchased several money orders to cover the amount she had taken. She made out the money orders in the names of the people who had originally paid the restitution.
As a result of the situation, the prosecutor's office has changed its procedures and will involve three officers. The restitution clerk receives the checks, records them and turns them over to the county treasurer to be deposited. The county auditor will disburse the money to the victims.