The State Board of Accounts detailed more than a dozen charges in 2006 to the department's Commissary Fund that it deemed "unallowable." These included $790 for first-class airline tickets for Frisbie, his wife and daughter for a trip to a sheriffs' conference in Orlando, Fla., a $600 limousine tour of Washington, D.C. during a conference for fallen officers, $450 for "I support Sheriff Mark Frisbie" bracelets during campaign season and a $100 tab at Hooters in Nashville, Tenn. for a "business lunch" between Frisbie and his attorney, according to the audit.
Frisbie admits no wrongdoing and chalks the expenses up to "accounting mistakes." He said most of the violations were caused by George Alexander, the former Sheriff's Department manager and grant writer who pleaded guilty last month to stealing nearly $50,000 in federal grant money.
The sheriff said he paid back all of the money auditors said he was responsible for misspending -- $4,352.32 in all. He also plans to change his reimbursement policy for deputies and has taken steps to prevent the discrepancies next year, he added.
But this year's audit findings echoed many of the problems cited by State Board of Accounts inspectors during their audit last year.
Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter sent a letter to Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell on Monday and asked him to open an investigation of Frisbie to determine whether any of the findings in the audit were the result of "criminal wrongdoing."
Bookwalter said the first-class airline tickets were particularly problematic.
State Police Spokesman First Sgt. Dave Bursten said Whitesell had received the prosecutor's request and should determine whether to pursue an investigation today.
Putnam County Commissioner Kristina Warren said the commissioners could not comment on the report, but would review the audit and determine whether they need to convene a special meeting to address the issues it raises.
State auditors reviewed the charges made in 2006 to the department's Visa credit card. The Visa bill was paid from the Commissary Fund -- revenue generated from the sale of merchandise to prisoners in the jail -- and found the following misspent funds, according to the audit report:
* The department paid $600 to charter a limousine tour of Washington, D.C. for two families of fallen Indiana police officers and Sheriff's Department employees during a conference for slain members of law enforcement.
* Frisbie purchased three first-class plane tickets to the 2006 National Sheriff's Association Conference in Orlando, Fla. The tickets were for himself, his wife and his daughter and cost a total of nearly $800. The cost to bump the tickets up to first class was $300.
* Eight purchases of flowers were made for a total of $400.
* Frisbie reimbursed himself for five meal purchases that were made in addition to his daily meal allotment. These included a $70 tab at the Crabhouse restaurant and $225 at the Chophouse restaurant, both in Orlando, Fla., and an $80 tab the Washington D.C. Hilton Lobby Bar.
* During the sheriff's re-election campaign, the department paid $450 for promotional items such as silicon bracelets with the phrase, "I support Sheriff Mark Frisbie."
* About $350 was used to pay for registration fees for Frisbie's wife and the wife of one of his deputies.
The report also reprimanded Frisbie for finding that 31 of the 70 Visa charges in 2006 did not have accompanying receipts. This problem was also documented in the department's last audit when inspectors could not find receipts for 40 percent of the charges listed. The violations the State Board of Accounts for this year include:
* Frisbie could not account for two retail purchases for $32, one at the Airport Magic Shop and one at Paradies.
* Deputies charged $170 to the department's credit card for a hotel stay after the conference they were attending ended.
* Several food purchases were reimbursed without accompanying receipts -- three orders from Anthony's Pizzeria in Greencastle for a total of $250, a Hilton Lobby Bar tab for $65 and a $100 bill at Hooters in Nashville, Tenn.
* A $350 purchase from a Dell catalog that had no invoice with it.
In an interview with the BannerGraphic Monday, Frisbie said the issues pointed out in the audit came out of either honest mistakes or unauthorized charges Alexander incurred as he ran the department.
He did, however, say he is responsible for the mistakes, since he oversees the money.
The State Board of Accounts included an itemized rebuttal the sheriff submitted that attempts to explain or refute most of the audit's findings.
Frisbie said Alexander used the department's credit card to order the limousine and the flowers, as well as some of the food charges that auditors redflagged.
Frisbie said he rode in the limousine, but only to get from one hotel to another and he did not know Alexander had used the department's credit card to pay for it.
As for the plane tickets, the sheriff said he intended all along to reimburse the department for their cost, he just forgot. The conference took place in June 2006.
Frisbie, however, defended the money he spent on his wife since she works as a volunteer jail matron.
The $100 Hooters bill came from a business lunch he had with his State Fraternal Order of Police attorney, he said.
As a result of the audit, Frisbie said he intends to enact three major policy changes to help prevent some of the problems the State Board of Accounts found:
* Frisbie will no longer reimburse employees for expense they incur unless they have a receipt or invoice to go along with their purchases.
* Employees will only be allowed to use their credit cards while they are on training trips or at conferences.
* The sheriff has vowed to look over the Commissary Fund expenditures every month.
The audit also found nearly $65,000 in federal grant money and county funds that Alexander allegedly stole.
This includes billing for property the department never received and double billing -- as well as the $50,000 in grant money he pled guilty to stealing.