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La Paz County Parks Department - Theft of Public Monies


Our investigation revealed that from May 2002 to December 2004, Dawn James, the former administrative secretary, embezzled at least $84,193 from the La Paz County Parks Department in 142 separate instances by taking cash from department revenue receipts for various fees and from deposits held for restroom key access. Ms. James concealed the cash shortage by recording and depositing only the remaining revenue amounts, omitting from the records the money she took. Additionally, Ms. James intentionally delayed deposits totaling $364,387—a misuse of public money. By delaying these deposits, Ms. James was able to personally use these monies for a period of time, anywhere from 3 to 65 days, and then return a portion of them for deposit. 

We submitted our findings to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and on May 25, 2006, the Maricopa County Superior Court issued an indictment on 1 count of fraudulent schemes, 2 counts of theft, and 67 counts of misuse of public monies against the former administrative secretary.