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Beard charged with theft

By Staff, 02/14/18 3:00 PM


PRESCOTT – Connie Beard, former administrative assistant with the Prescott Police Department was formally arrested and charged with theft over $25,000 Wednesday afternoon.

A legislative audit last year showed $38,078 mission from accounts with the PPD over a period of Feb. 18, 2016 through Dec.31, 2016. The purpose of the audit was to determine if funds were being deposited in the proper accounts and if the internal control over the PPD’s receipting and depositing process were adequate. During the audit, records for Aug. 15 through Dec. 19, 2016, couldn’t be found and the actual amount missing could be higher.

Beard was the administrative assistant for the PPD during this period and her duties included receipting and depositing money that came into the department. The audit showed unreceipted checks for $34,544 deposited into the bond and fine account in an apparent attempt to “conceal the unaccounted for funds consisting primarily of cash.” The checks, according to the audit, included service fees and accident report revenue in the amount of $10,566 that should have been deposited into the Police Equipment Fund.

Other discrepancies found in the audit included: manual receipts not always being posted into the computer in a timely manner; receipts not always indicating the correct method of payment; some manual receipts not being posted in the computer system, while others were posted for the wrong amount and/or to the wrong account; receipts weren’t identified with bank deposits; and some receipts were improperly altered, while others were improperly voided.

The audit determined internal control problems for the PPD as the receipting and depositing duties weren’t properly segregates, manual receipts weren’t reconciled with bank deposits and management didn’t provide adequate fiscal oversite.

According to the report’s summary, Beard, who resigned from her post with the PPD in 2016, was the custodian of funds and responsible for bank deposits during the period in question. A copy of the audit and its findings were turned over to the Eighth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. An investigation into the situation was done by the Arkansas State Police.

Brian Russell was chief of police during the period in question. Russell retired and was replaced by Joey Beavers on March 7, 2017.

Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver was called to Little Rock to answer questions concerning why Beard, who was under investigation at the time, was still employed by the City of Prescott as its Code Enforcement Officer, though she’d been placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 23.

Oliver answered questions asked about the missing money saying she left her job with the PPD because she and Russell couldn’t get along with one another. Russell, Oliver said, had said he’d asked Beard to either resign or be fired because she reportedly “given away” a drug raid. He told legislators at the time there was no evidence against Beard and the code enforcement job was open.

Beard arrived at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office where a member of the ASP made the formal arrest and filed charges of theft over $25,000.


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