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Former Caruthersville city marshal pleads not guilty
CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. -- Former Caruthersville city marshal Chris Riggs has pleaded not guilty to charges of forgery and stealing thousands of dollars from the city's Criminal Investigation Fund.
The case will continue in Dunklin County Circuit Court following a change of venue request that was approved in late January.
A new judge has yet to be assigned to the case, so no court date has been set.
Recently, Riggs resigned from his position as city marshal. According to Mayor Pro Tem Frank Morgan, who also serves as chairman of the Police and Fire Committee through the city council, Riggs' previously approved paid administrative leave will be terminated soon, perhaps by the end of February.
A criminal affidavit filed with the court details 24 counts of forgery and one count of stealing Riggs is being charged with, and 11 counts of forgery against another city employee, Marcus Hopkins, who served as a Bootheel Drug Task Force agent. The document said that Hopkins' role in the alleged crimes involved him forging signatures and amounts paid for phantom Bootheel Drug Task Force expenditures.
The expenditure logs Hopkins was signing for as a Bootheel Drug Task Force supervising agent were actually an attempt to cover up the fact that Riggs was writing checks to Hopkins and then forging Hopkins' signature to the checks before cashing them at a local bank, investigators said. Riggs allegedly wrote checks from $500 to $6,000 over a nearly two-year period.
Assistant police chief Tony Jones has been acting chief of police in the absence of Riggs, and according to Morgan, has put his name on the ballot for the city's April 3 municipal election.
Local retired police officer Frank Savonte also has put his name on the ballot.
Hopkins also resigned following the allegations and has received approval for a change of judge and venue. His case will also be heard in Dunklin County Circuit Court once a new judge has been assigned.
Both Riggs and Hopkins remain free after posting a $200,000 bond each in October.