Sarpy Employee Charged with Theft

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

Sarpy County Authorities say they're investigating a long term employee of the county for theft from the county.

Patrick Clarke has been employed with the county for the past 35-years; working his way into a management position but authorities say he took advantage of his position to steal from the county.

Clarke has been charged with felony theft of gasoline. Authorities say he used his county gas credit card to buy gas for his personal vehicle.

The county attorney's office believes Clarke stole about $1,600 from taxpayers over the past year. At $3.65 a gallon that is more than 430 gallons of gas.

It's a simple task that we do too often. Filling up a tank can be an expensive way to spend a few minutes of time. Sarpy County authorities believe Patrick Clarke found a way around the pain at the pump. They believe he passed it onto Sarpy County taxpayers.

Tricia Freeman says, "There was a report made to the sheriff's office that someone suspected that perhaps he was using the credit card improperly so an investigation began at that time. The investigation revealed that, that card had been used for his personal use related to gas."

Sarpy County officials say there are approximately 150 gas cards, most of which stay with the vehicle they fill but Clarke was put in a unique position.

Mark Wayne says, "On a monthly basis those cards are processed through the Fleet Service Department and sent out to the various departments that utilize those vehicles so they can pay their bill for the month."

As manager of fleet services in the county Clarke had access to the bills as they came in and as manager could sign off on his own gas purchases.

Of course the process and procedures relating to gas purchases in the county are being reviewed and there will be a full audit of county books.

Clarke may face more charges; county officials say they are looking into tool purchases as well as gasoline.

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