Bend, Ore. – A former Deschutes County sheriff’s captain is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team. Scott Beard was fired Friday after FBI agents took him into custody for theft, money laundering, and passport fraud.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says he became aware of discrepancies in confidential funds managed by Beard back in September, 2015. During the past 5 months, Nelson agreed with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office to give the federal criminal investigation priority over taking employment action against Beard. That criminal investigation resulted in a federal criminal indictment Wednesday.
Nelson says a transition audit revealed the discrepancies done upon him taking office. These accounts involved investigative funds, which were used by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
Beard was placed on administrative leave and the FBI began a criminal investigation. Concurrently, the Sheriff’s Office conducted an administrative investigation of Beard with the assistance of an outside investigator.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a thorough investigation and our commitment in maintaining the integrity of that investigation,” Nelson stated. “This office and our employees have cooperated fully with both the criminal and administrative investigation.”
The indictment also includes co-defendant Krista Mudrick, charged with one count of making false statements. Mudrick was an employee with the DCSO from February 2011 to March, 2013. Beard was one of Mudrick’s supervisors. The indictment says the two had a relationship for nearly two years.
Beard devised a scheme to embezzle, steal, and obtain by fraud, money from Deschutes County to pay for personal items and Mudrick’s expenses. Beard was able to steal the funds by causing inflated or fictitious funding sent to the county finance department, issued checks payable to himself, which he cashed. Instead of providing the money to CODE or DCSO, Beard kept all or most of the funds for his own personal use.
The indictment says Beard also stole nearly $70,000 in cash, coins and precious metals which had been seized by CODE and DCSO. During the course of the scheme, Beard stole or embezzled $205,747.
“After the audit uncovered this issue, the Sheriff’s Office immediately increased oversight of our accounting practices,” Nelson said. “We have continued to review these practices and made further changes as a result of recommendations from the transition auditor and the outside investigator conducting the administrative investigation.”
Nelson says improved accounting practices address the methods in which the Sheriff’s Office handles money and also complies with legally required audits.
“The gross misconduct by this one person is in no way representative of the over 220 men and women, whom I am proud to call co-workers. We will not tolerate misconduct amongst our ranks and dedicate ourselves to the ethical and professional standards of the law enforcement profession. This has damaged our citizens’ trust and confidence in a time where law enforcement is under great scrutiny. We will rebuild this trust and continue to provide the best in public safety and service.”