Former Garfield County School District employee pleads guilty to misusing public funds
A former Garfield County School District business administrator has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $80,000 from the district.
Justin Baugh, 40, pleaded guilty Thursday in 6th District Court to two third-degree felony counts of misuse of public funds. As part of a plea in abeyance agreement he must serve 30 days in jail.
Baugh has paid back most of the stolen money but still owes $15,000 in restitution.
If he pays the restitution and commits no new crimes, the case will be dismissed after three years, according to Becki Bronson of the Garfield County Sheriff's Office.
A 2010 audit showed Baugh stole as much as $88,000 between June 2008 and July 2009 while working as the school district's business administrator.
Baugh allegedly wrote checks to himself and his wife, including one for more than $30,000, which he deposited in a personal account, according to police officials.
The audit also showed that Baugh spent about $12,000 a year in travel stipends and wrote large travel expense checks.
He also asked district employees to destroy documents that could implicate him and asked others to keep quiet about the missing documents, according to the sheriff's office.
Jerry Jaeger, prosecutor with the Washington County Attorney's Office, said in a news release that officials agreed to a plea in abeyance because Baugh had no previous criminal record.
Baugh was initially charged with misuse of public money and communications fraud, both second-degree felonies, along with one count of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.
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