Huntington Officials Accused of Embezzling Funds From Speeding Tickets
An audit performed by a local accounting firm appears to have found town officials in Huntington to have collected extra money for traffic tickets as well as thousands of hours they either did not work.
According to an audit performed by Alexander, Lankford & Hiers Accounting in Lufkin and acquired by Watchdog.org, elected officials in Huntington falsified traffic tickets and citations to collect fines higher than originally claimed by the traffic court, and sent the extra money straight into their pockets. From Fox News:
During the five years covered by the audit, former City Secretary and Treasurer Betsy Gregson made an extra $30,980.58 above her salary, former Police Chief Steven Sifford made an extra $32,603, City Administrator Bruce Milstead made an extra $30,093.12, and Jack Carter (who signed the checks) made an extra $29,212.11, with Carter’s wife adding another $8,449.03.
All in all, nine city officials were accused of participating in the scheme, which netted the participants $165,293.43 above their salaries over the last five years. The town brings in just over $1,000,000 annually, with 40% of those dollars coming from traffic tickets. The employees appear to have also cashed in on accrued vacation hours yearly, which is prohibited by city regulations until retirement or termination.
The full story, available at Watchdog.org, paints a picture of a town budget run by corrupt officials using government credit cards to purchase groceries and nail salon appointments.
A lawsuit is currently in progress, brought on by the current city council.