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Alexander hit with more charges

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

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ALEXANDER
Three additional felony charges have been filed against a former Putnam County Sheriff's Department employee charged with the theft of $45,000 in federal grant funds.

Perjury and two counts of theft are the new charges against George Alexander, 58, Greencastle, former ombudsman with PCSD, who was arraigned in Putnam Superior Court last month. Alexander remains housed in the Parke County Jail with bond set at $500,000.

Sgt. Scott Stockton of the Indiana State Police said more charges are anticipated in the case as the investigation continues. And he credited Putnam County Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter with pushing for a thorough investigation into financial transactions within the sheriff's department.

"He told me to leave no stoned unturned," Stockton said of Bookwalter. "He said 'I want every nickel accounted for.'"

Bookwalter said an audit will look into every transaction in that department.

"We owe it to the public that everyone feels there's been a full accounting of everything and everyone involved," Bookwalter said.

The perjury charge against Alexander stems from the man's testimony during a small claims case in November 2005. Alexander had been sued for non-payment of a bill, and under oath he swore that he was unemployed at that time and did not receive any type of payroll check other than his disability check of $1,255 per month.

But at the time of the court case, Alexander was employed by the sheriff's department. He had been contracted since May 24, 2004 for an annual salary of $18,360.

The additional theft charges, Stockton reports, stem from an incident earlier this spring when Alexander purchased a new water heater and shop vac for his home, then deducted an amount from his rent.

Stockton reports that on March 24, Alexander had contacted Tom Gilson, the maintenance director at the Putnam County Jail, and told Gilson that the water heater in his home on Crescent Drive had "busted and that there was water all over the floor."

Stockton states that Alexander instructed Gilson to get a new shop vac at Ace Hardware in Greencastle, and to use the jail utility truck to deliver the new water heater and haul the old one away. The court file also states that Alexander instructed Gilson to get assistance from an inmate at PCJ to assist with the repair.

On June 6, Gilson told Stockton he did as instructed by Alexander, and also learned that Alexander had already picked up a new shop vac at the store. Gilson said he noticed that the bill of $329 for the water heater, which was tax exempt, had been issued to the sheriff's department. Stockton also found that a bill of $129.99, also tax exempt, had been assigned to PCJ by Alexander for the shop vac. Gilson was required to sign both of those bills at Ace Hardware, the detective reports.

Gilson told Stockton he felt "uneasy and uncomfortable" signing the bill for the water heater, but he felt he had to since Alexander was his supervisor.

Stockton reports he also spoke with Alexander's landlord on June 7 and found out that Alexander had reported the purchase of the water heater and the repair to landlord Keith Butts on March 24. Alexander told Butts the total cost of the water heater purchase, installation and removal was between $680-$690. Butts reported he never got the supporting documentation about the repair, but Alexander deducted the amount from his rent, making the credit for the bogus repairs at $590.26.

Stockton's report alleges Alexander abused his position to direct and utilize subordinate personnel of PCSD, as well as an inmate, purchase equipment with PCSD money, and obtained financial credit toward his rent, leading two the D felony charges of theft.

Prosecutor Bookwalter confirmed there a federal agent is also investigating the misuse of the federal grant money obtained by Alexander for the sheriff's department.

An initial hearing on the perjury and new theft charges has been set for 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 in superior court. The pre-trial hearing on the original theft charges has been set for July 25.



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