This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Former Kane County Treasurer Georgia Baca has been charged with four felonies for allegedly transferring more then $33,000 in county funds into her personal bank account.
Baca, 52, of Washington, Utah, was charged Thursday in 6th District Court with four counts of third-degree felony misusing public money crimes that were first revealed in a March report by the state Auditor's Office.
A summons was issued ordering Baca to appear in court on Oct. 20.
Baca was the treasurer when, between March 2014 and January 2016, she made some 45 transfers of Kane County money totaling about $33,600 into four bank accounts belonging to Baca, or Baca and her children (a son and a daughter), charges state.
The money came from two bank accounts used for county property taxes and the county justice court.
It was spent on miscellaneous personal purchases not authorized by Kane County, charges state.
The auditor's report found that over $1,600 in county funds were used to pay Baca's cell phone bills.
The audit also says more than $53,000 noted as deposits on the property tax account subledger were never deposited into the bank.
"The money, which was nearly all cash, remains unaccounted for," auditors wrote. "The treasurer had custody of the cash and was responsible for making the deposits; therefore, at the very least, we consider this improper oversight of county funds by the county treasurer. However, we believe there is a high likelihood the treasurer misappropriated these funds. Not only did she have access to the cash, but she had the ability to conceal the misappropriations."
Auditors also noted that it was troubling that there was evidence of money being shuffled between different county bank accounts with no supporting documents justifying the transfer, because those money transfers are often used to conceal misappropriations. They were also concerned about unsupported bank reconciliation adjustments and property tax account adjustments the treasurer's office made, as well as the more than $1 million in post voided receipts for transactions that were voided subsequent to the recording of the receipt and deposit of the tax payment and then recorded again to "correct" or modify the original receipt information.
There were also discrepancies between how much money in the form of cash and checks was recorded in the general ledger and what ended up being transferred into the bank accounts. Auditors noted that the treasurer may have taken the cash from a deposit and replaced it with a check related to an account that had been written off or adjusted in order to conceal the removal of cash.
The Southern Utah News reported that Baca was in her third term as treasurer when she proffered her resignation prior to a March county commission meeting.
The newspaper in June 2014 reported that Baca had worked for the county for 25 years five years in the clerk/auditor's office, 13 years in the recorder's officer and more than seven years as treasurer.