The case of a former Putnam County Sheriff's Department employee who stole nearly $90,000 in federal grant money is now making the county's coffers a bit lighter.
At their Monday, Dec. 19 meeting, the Putnam County Commissioners agreed to pay $28,000 in refunds to the Department of Justice for grants the sheriff's department received years ago.
The money was part of the nearly $90,000 stolen by George Alexander, the former Putnam County Sheriff's Department manager who was convicted in 2008 of the thefts and sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of probation.
At the time of his conviction, Alexander was also ordered to pay $57,000 to the federal government and $31,000 to the Putnam County Auditor's office.
In spite of this, the Department of Justice determined the county was responsible for refunding some money as well.
"Their take on it was that he worked for us and we should have had better control over him," Commissioner Nancy Fogle told the Banner Graphic.
Fogle indicated she and fellow commissioners Gene Beck and Kristina Warren did not exactly agree with the federal government's assessment of the situation, but that fighting it might be more costly than simply paying the $28,000.
"(County Attorney) Scott Hoff told us, you can fight it, but it'll drag on and on and on, and it will cost a lot more money than this. You might as well just pay it and close the book on it," Fogle said.
"We either could fight it or we could let it go. We decide not to fight it, to settle it."
Federal investigators indicated that between April 2005 and April 2007, Alexander stole federal grant money as many as seven times and that he stole county funds as many as seven times.
In pleading guilty to the crimes, Alexander dismissed a claim he made prior to his arrest that he stole the money under the direction of former Sheriff Mark Frisbie.
The sheriff also came under investigation shortly after Alexander. Frisbie resigned in August 2008 and was convicted of federal program theft in November 2008.
Despite the similar nature of their crimes, no official connection was established between the thefts by Alexander and Frisbie.