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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Police still seeking Alexander

Friday, May 18, 2007

A cat that had been stranded in a tree along Manhattan Road for about two weeks was rescued Thursday afternoon by the trio of (from left) Danny Arthur, Josh Butler, who climbed the tree, and Pat Terry. Judy Givan holds the feline, which dropped to the ground and scampered under a porch.
A former Putnam County Sheriff's employee sought by police has contacted the BannerGraphic to say he was only following orders when he allegedly took more than $45,000 in federal law enforcement grant money.

But the lead investigator in the case says he does not believe that statement, and expressed confidence that George Alexander will be arrested to face the felony charges of misappropriation of funds.

"He had the opportunity to talk to us about this prior to charges being filed," Indiana State Police Det. Sgt. Scott Stockton told the BannerGraphic Thursday afternoon. "It's ironic that now he wants to put the record straight."

Alexander said he was willing to cooperate with investigators, but then decided to consult with an attorney. He has since hired attorney Jeffrey Boggess as legal counsel.

"I wouldn't have done this without any authorization," Alexander said Thursday afternoon. "They're not doing a full thorough investigation."

Alexander was placed on administrative leave from the sheriff's department last week after an audit by the State Board of Accounts turned up federal grant money missing from an account. On Thursday, Sheriff Mark Frisbie terminated Alexander's employment after Stockton's investigation through the ISP white collar crime division. Alexander had served as ombudsman for the department, volunteering his efforts for three years, but receiving an annual salary of about $18,000 for almost two years.

Alexander claimed that he made the financial transactions at the request of Sheriff Frisbie. He also told the BannerGraphic he had proof of those claims.

"I have information. They just don't seem to want it," Alexander said. "It's like I'm guilty before they talk to me."

Stockton said that two federal grant checks were deposited into Alexander's personal bank account, and that no other person has access to that account. The money has since been withdrawn. In addition to the $45,000, Stockton said another $12,000 in cash withdrawals were made from the grant account, and those receipts were signed by Alexander.

"Only two other department employees had their names on that account, and their names aren't on any checks," Stockton said.

Police went Thursday morning to Alexander's home on Crescent Drive in Greencastle to serve a search warrant to collect evidence related to the case. They also intended to arrest Alexander, but he was not at home.

On Thursday, Alexander told the BannerGraphic that he is "not hiding," adding his attorney knows where he is. In fact, Alexander said his attorney had told him to leave.

"So I did," he said. "He knows where I've been."

Attorney Boggess, however, disagreed with that statement.

"That's not true," Boggess said. "I don't know where he is."

Boggess filed an appearance in court Thursday on Alexander's behalf, but said he has not seen a copy of the court file. The attorney also expressed concern about Alexander's well-being once he is arrested.

"I don't know if holding him in Putnam County Jail would be a good idea for him or Putnam County Jail," Boggess said, referring to Alexander's poor health, and the security risk of jailing a former police employee in the same area as inmates.

Boggess also stated he does not believe Alexander is trying to avoid capture.

"I anticipate that he'll be processed through the legal system some time next week," Boggess said. "He's not running. He's going to report."

Det. Stockton said that by avoiding arrest, Alexander is not helping his own case.

"We'll find him, and his isn't looking good for him -- not coming in," Stockton said.

He also noted that Alexander had been involved financially in other local agencies besides the sheriff's department -- including Family Support Services and the Lions Club, but no investigation had been launched into their finances, Stockton said.

Those agencies will have to review their own records, the detective said, and then request a police investigation if they find any funds missing.

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Assistant Editor Jason Moon contributed to this report.

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