Former Kay County Jail Employee Accused Of Embezzling $363K

Monday, May 2nd 2016, 6:56 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A former Kay County jail employee found herself in jail, accused of stealing $363,000 from the inmate commissary fund. 

Melissa Sprueill, 42, is accused of stealing the cash from the over a five year period. 

She was caught after the state auditor looked into the books. 

“There was a problem there that they had dismissed this individual, so we went in to do an audit and basically determined that from the information, that we had it appears that she embezzled over $350,000,” said State Auditor Gary Jones.

Sprueill told police she stole the money to feed a gambling habit. 

“This particular case she got a creative way to get funds in there and to shuffle money and make it appear as though the money was there but in reality it wasn’t,” Jones said.

So how does someone steal so much money over five years from a law-enforcement agency account and not get caught? 

“Well, it’s no oversight,” Jones said. “So many times, you trust people and because you have that blind trust you don’t have the internal controls, the systems of checks and balances in place that would prevent that.” 

And Jones told News 9 the problem is more common than you might think.

“We’ve had this same thing happen with inmate trust funds throughout the state. We probably had over a dozen instances where someone was mismanaging the inmate trust funds,” he said. 

Jones said his office only looked back five years, but he said there could be a lot more money missing because Sprueill worked at the jail much longer than that and was in charge of several accounts. 

His office plans to return to Kay County to look deeper into the books.