Thursday, May 24, 2012

McDonald County grand jury indicts Lanagan police chief

(From State Auditor Thomas Schweich)

A McDonald County Grand Jury has indicted the Lanagan chief of police and one of his officers for felony forgery.

Lanagan Chief of Police Larry D. Marsh was charged with five counts of felony forgery for writing citations with a "non-existent" Missouri statute and altering a racial profiling report.  Lanagan Police Officer Michael Gallhue was also charged with two counts of felony forgery for similar offenses.  All are Class C felonies.

State Auditor Tom Schweich issued an audit of the McDonald County town in November 2011.  Among the key audit findings were missing funds and evidence that the city routinely violated Section 302.341.2, RSMo, popularly known as the "Macks Creek Law," by failing to relinquish  excess revenues received from speeding tickets to the state for distribution to local schools.  Schweich's auditors discovered the police department filed incorrect Missouri Vehicle Stops Annual Reports with the Missouri attorney general, which helped hide the excess revenues.

Schweich's office shared the information with McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Pierce, who then convened a grand jury investigation.  Last week, Pierce asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to arrest Marsh and charge him with falsifying reports.

"This is a great example of what teamwork between state and local government can do to uphold accountability,"  Schweich said.  "We have an outstanding staff of experienced auditors and an exceptional legal team that reviews every audit and takes action when misdeeds like this are identified."

 McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Pierce added:

"I appreciate the work done by Auditor Schweich's team," Pierce said.  "The action we took last week shows no one is above the law, and this office will not hesitate to vigorously pursue those who violate the public trust."

Schweich's audits were instrumental in the arrest of another local official last year.  The Schuyler County Collector resigned after a state audit showed she had embezzled more than $500,000 for her own personal use.  She pled guilty to felony mail fraud and has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison.

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