Thousands of dollars taken from Kay Co., D.A. says


Tuesday, September 2nd 2008, 8:40 pm
By: News 9


By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

NEWKIRK, Okla. -- A Kay County official may have to testify against one of his own employees.

The district attorney's office is missing thousands of dollars in seized money and District Attorney Mark Gibson said he believes the theft is an inside job.

Gibson said there were only a few people who had access to the money inside his office.

"I'm shocked," Gibson said. "I've prosecuted for almost 22 years and this is the most stunned I've ever been."

Gibson said tens of thousands of dollars from seized and forfeited money went missing Wednesday from a safe in his own office.

"When we went to the safe to retrieve that money, which is kept in a sealed envelope, it was gone," Gibson said. "Which in turn lead to an immediate researching of that item which...lead to 11 other envelops that were missing."

Gibson immediately notified the state attorney general and asked that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation handle the case.

"The case is will underway," OSBI investigator Stan Florence said. "We would expect we should be able to wrap this case up, as far as our investigation, in fairly short order."

Gibson denied having anything to do with the missing money, but said investigators might not have to look too far for a suspect.

"It had to be somebody on my staff, either currently or previously," Gibson said. "Very, very few people have ever had the code to this safe."

When the culprit is caught, the person will face embezzlement charges and up to 10 years in prison.

"This is an outrageous act," Gibson said. "We are anxious for the investigation to take its course and find the person who's stolen this money and let justice prevail."

Gibson last audited the safe back in November and said some of the money was taken as late as April of this year.

Gibson said the theft will not affect any pending cases that may involve that money.