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Investigation into Harlan Co. Sheriff's Office missing money

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - A Kentucky State Police investigation is underway following allegations of missing money at the Harlan County Sheriff's Department.

A state audit shows $37,668 is missing from the drug fund.

"There was a hole in the system, and somebody found the hole," said Sheriff Marvin Lipfird.

The state audit says the money is unaccounted for in the account used for drug buys in cases.

"It's very concerning to me. We're going to get to the bottom of it one way or another," said Sheriff Lipfird.

The state audit report says from January 2007 to June 2012, $194,500 was taken from the account, but only $156,830 was advanced to detectives for drug buys.

Sheriff Lipfird says he made KSP Post in Harlan aware of the missing money several months ago, but he wanted to wait until the audit was complete before starting an investigation. On Wednesday, he requested the KSP investigation.

"As of today, a formal written letter was brought from the Sheriff's Office requesting Kentucky State Police to investigate this incident and at this time, the investigation is just now getting started," said Trooper Shane Jacobs.

In the audit report, the Sheriff says last year he dismissed an employee for theft and claims that person had access to the drug funds. However, the Sheriff says the entire office will be part of the investigation.

"Not only will our former employees be investigated, but current employees. Everyone that has been around or had access to the money in any fashion," said Sheriff Lipfird.

The Sheriff says changes are already made in the office to prevent something like this from happening again.

"There's absolutely no cash at all in the office involving drug investigations and from now on, it's done through a debit card system and we reconcile the book monthly," he said.

Sheriff Lipfird says he will cooperate in the state police investigation.


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