At a hearing on Monday the county indicated that the prosecution of Garth Day will likely be handed over to federal authorities. For the past several months the FBI has been investigating the actions of Day in allegedly committing fraud and forgery at the same time as the county investigation has been proceeding. The FBI has met with county officials, obtained documents of actions by Day, and identified areas for prosecution.
Federal officials have also reportedly met with Day and obtained information from him about his actions. It has been reported that Day is cooperating with the investigation and has provided additional information about his actions during his time as council administrator.
The areas being investigated by both federal and county officials include Day’s alleged actions in forging documents to allow him to open multiple lines of credit at several financial institutions on behalf of the county that he then personally used. The alleged forged documents included resolutions from the county council and authorizations for Day to establish these accounts on behalf of the county. Day allegedly set up these accounts and established himself with the ability to draw money from these lines of credit.
The investigation also includes money from county road projects where Day set up a separate account to hold county funds in escrow. The investigation is determining whether Day took funds from this account for his personal use.
The investigation began last May when the county treasurer, Bonnie Thomson, became uncomfortable with an account that had been established as an escrow fund separate from the county accounts. In August Day met with Chairman Creager and reportedly told him that he had done some inappropriate things and that the council should either fire him or put him on administrative leave. Chairman Creager provided the information about the conversation to the Sheriff’s office who added this information to their investigation. Day was placed on unpaid administrative leave and charges were filed shortly thereafter.
County attorney Jann Farris indicated that the decision to allow the federal prosecution was made to ensure the maximum prison sentence for Day. Farris said, “My fear is that Garth will be released immediately from the prison due to the non-violent nature of his crimes and his lack of a criminal record and prison overcrowding. I do not feel like that would be appropriate considering the damage he has done. In the federal system he will more likely get and serve a significant prison sentence. In my judgment that will be in the best interest of justice.”
Farris indicated that the U.S. Attorney’s office will be filing charges shortly and the county will then drop their charges to let the federal system pursue prosecution. Farris reports that he will participate in the prosecution as a special U.S. attorney and will be second chair in the Day case.
While no final number has been established, estimates of the amount of fraud have been between $400,000 and $500,000. The losses will be covered by the county’s insurance policy, so the taxpayers will not bear the burden of the losses.