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WJBD - Local News - Missing Bond Money At Marion County Sheriff's Department Under Investigation

Missing Bond Money At Marion County Sheriff's Department Under Investigation

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

An Illinois State Police investigation is underway to try and determine what happened to $741 in bond money collected at the Marion County Sheriff's Department that cannot be accounted for.   The discovery was made during the yearly audit of Marion County government by the auditing firm of Pinski and Lyons.  

Marion County Sheriff Jerry DeVore says as soon as he was notified of the missing funds he called in State Police for an outside investigation.  There have also been changes in how bond money is handled at the sheriff's department to try and prevent any future problems.   DeVore says a temporary bond box for which corrections employees had a key has been eliminated.   Two employees now have to sign off as any bond money is dropped into a locked box they cannot open.  Sign offs are then required on every step until the money is deposited in an account for the Circuit Clerk's office where it is put on the account of the defendant.   

DeVore admits mistakes were made and the missing money went unaccounted for because some of the past procedures were not properly followed.  The auditors also found another case where bond money had not been sent to the Circuit Clerk's office. However, that paperwork and money was located during the auditing process.   

DeVore notes this is the first time there has ever been an issue with missing bond money.   He reports four employees that were traced to having contact with the still missing bond money have already been questioned by state police as part of their investigation.  DeVore says more could be questioned as the investigation continues.   

The sheriff says he has also taken care of another concern of the auditors about money and checks being kept in a drawer at the front desk that is left unlocked during business hours even when the front desk is unattended.  DeVore says the money and checks are now kept in a locked box in a locked office to provide better security.   

The auditors are pushing for more frequent reconciling and record keeping of the bond, inmate benefit, and commissary accounts.  They also want the sheriff to provide a summary to the County Board on a regular basis of activity in the calendar fund. The fund is non-taxpayer money and is raised by the sheriff to cover costs mostly related to drug education of children.  DeVore doesn't feel the county board should be involved in the fund, but says he will make the information available.

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