Lehi official fired as county investigates possible embezzlement of nearly $800,000

(Image courtesy of Lehi City) Lehi snow removal operations are underway in this still from a Lehi City promotional video posted Dec. 21, 2017.

A Lehi streets supervisor has been fired amid an investigation of up to $791,000 that was paid to a business owned by the supervisor’s cousin for road salt and other materials that apparently were never delivered.

According to court documents unsealed this week, city officials told Utah County sheriff’s deputies that they had found unitemized invoices for some suspicious purchases of road salting sand and other materials from a Cedar City business called Vinco Enterprises.

That was odd, one city official told investigators, because Lehi contracts road work with a large Utah company, Geneva Rock, for those materials. The only explanation for the Vinco purchase was that Geneva Rock didn’t have enough of the materials available to fill the city’s order — but when city officials inquired, Geneva Rock staff said they had more than enough material for the city, court documents state.

A Lehi official then discovered Vinco was owned by a cousin of Wade Allred, Lehi’s streets department superintendent, investigators wrote.

Allred told sheriff’s investigators that Vinco delivered salt and sand for a mixture to apply to icy roads. But other city workers told investigators that the road salt was from another company, and it wasn’t mixed with sand. Other city employees had never heard of Vinco, investigators wrote. Another Vinco order, for road base, was purportedly used at a job site staffed by a Geneva Rock crew — but Geneva Rock workers said they also had never heard of Vinco, that they use their own company’s road base, and the amount ordered was “way more” than the job required.

Vinco’s owner said he had sold products to Lehi since 2014, and deliveries were always made by a subcontractor that Vinco’s owner identified — but investigators could not find. Investigators obtained a search warrant for the owner’s Facebook account, which he said he used to contact the subcontractor.

“It is my opinion that most, if not all, of the loads were billed but not delivered,” the investigator wrote in the search warrant affidavit. “I believe that obtaining Facebook information will prove that prior contact with [the subcontractor] did not occur and that an embezzlement was committed.”

No charges have been filed, but a Lehi representative confirmed Allred was no longer employed by the city as of Oct. 1. A city employee was “terminated due to alleged fraud,” city officials wrote in a social media statement.

“We can confirm that we are actively participating in an investigation of a former employee regarding these claims,” the statement read.

FOX 13 News attempted to reach Allred for comment at his home, but reporters were told he would not make a statement.

“Lehi City continues to take seriously the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” city officials wrote in a statement. "Due to the nature of the investigation, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”

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