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By Olivia Harnack
Whitman County GAzette 

Former district manager accused of fraud

Investigation into fraud and misappropriation claims underway

 


COLFAX — The Washington State Auditor is referring the case of the Whitman Conservation District Manager accused of fraud and misappropriating funds to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office for a possible criminal case.

The state agency also seeks $4,000 from the former manager to pay for their investigation.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office initially investigated the man, whose name was not yet released at the time of this publication in the Whitman County Gazette.

The agency was notified of the potential fraud by the Whitman Conservation District Board in Colfax in February last year.

State auditors determined that the former district manager bought a tractor for his personal use without board approval.

The alleged scam occurred in May of 2021 when the manager bought a $42,000 tractor from a dealer out of state.

He reportedly told the seller that the tractor was for the Whitman Conservation District and that he would use grant funds to buy it.

The manager had the dealer deliver the tractor to his house.

The man never paid for the tractor, and when the dealer couldn’t get ahold of him, the seller called the district board making the agency aware of the alleged scam.

The Whitman Conservation District Board quickly fired the manager and paid the dealer for the tractor the next day.

The district didn notneed the tractor and sold it at the initial sales price of $42,000.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office interviewed the former manager last December. The man reportedly admitted that he understood the district’s requirement that the board approves the tractor purchase.

Author Bio

Olivia Harnack, Editorial Reporter

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Olivia Harnack is a Journalist at the Whitman County Gazette. Olivia is enrolled at University of Idaho and is majoring in digital film studies. She serves in the United States Army National Guard and is proud to serve Whitman County.

 

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