Listen Up Beth Heckert D.A.
Who never once prosecuted a Jackson County cop for anything.
Forensic Evaluations of the Sheriff Depts in Oregon...
Investigate the Former Sheriff in Southern Oregon
" leave no stone un-turned."
Vet Mike Winters & Gil Gilbertson ('Constitutional Sheriff' and Oath Keeper Gil; who signed the FBI smarm letter against Governor Kitzhaber) then check out Curry County and Siskiyou County Mr. Lopey.
Deschutes Sheriff’s Office probe found dysfunction, lax oversight
Investigation prompted by Scott Beard's theft and affairs
" Complete with a corrupt deputy, adultery and an organization rife with easily exploitable policies and a lack of oversight, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office’s internal investigation into former Capt. Scott Beard rivals a television drama.
Beard embezzled more than $200,000 from the sheriff’s office, the discovery of which launched a yearlong internal investigation. The investigation report, obtained by The Bulletin as a result of a records request, reveals department policy failed to catch Beard’s embezzlement. It also found Beard was emotionally abusive to employees, and those under him did not feel they could report the conduct.
Reflecting on the office under Beard’s reign and former Sheriff Larry Blanton’s leadership, Darryl Nakahira, the sheriff’s office’s attorney, said hindsight is 20-20.
“Obviously, our checks were inadequate that we had in place, because he was able to defeat them,” Nakahira told The Bulletin.
For about 18 months, Beard, as captain of the detectives division and the person in charge of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team for the sheriff’s office, was able to repeatedly skim money from several sources: the CODE bank account, the sheriff’s office’s street crimes account, the asset forfeiture account and from money stored in evidence.
A forensic audit of the books found that between April 2014 and September 2015, Beard stole a total of 31 times, taking as little as $50 and as much as $19,939 in a single instance.
Beard was caught and pleaded guilty. On Sept. 8, he was sentenced to five years in prison.
In an interview with The Bulletin, Blanton said the embezzlement shows Beard’s shortcomings, not the sheriff’s office.
“The long and short of it was we had a thief and the thief got caught,” he said.
Flying under the radar
The internal investigation shows Beard was adept at covering his tracks. He thwarted the office’s “two-signature” policy on receipts when money is moved from one account to the next by forging the second signature. He often used his employees to deliver money to the county or the bank after taking his portion, so as to not be the only person implicated if someone realized the deposits were short, the internal investigation found.
However, several employees reported there was no policy to audit the books in street crimes, which would have shown someone was stealing.
“That’s the shortcomings that when something like this comes to light, we realize that, ‘Oh, yeah, there is an improved way that we can do business.’ And certainly all things need to be documented,” Capt. Paul Garrison said in an interview with The Bulletin.
Blanton said the policies in place that the time were established by previous sheriffs.
“First of all, the policies worked, because Scott Beard was caught,” Blanton said. “There are no policies that can be written on paper that can stop someone from stealing, or from violating the law.
“Merely instituting a different checks and balance is not going to stop somebody if they are going to steal from you.”
However, Blanton said you should always learn from situations such as this, and policies should be changed accordingly. That has happened since Beard’s embezzlement.
Suspicions of Beard’s embezzlement were reported before Beard was caught. In 2014, Beard’s wife, Mechele Beard, reported to Blanton’s wife, Linda Blanton, as well as Lt. Tim Leak and others that Beard was having an affair. It was later discovered that his affair was with a former sheriff’s office employee, Krista Mudrick. Beard used the money he stole to buy her lavish gifts, and take her on international vacations.
In December 2014, Mechele Beard confided in Jaclyn Rupert, wife of Sgt. Ty Rupert, at a charity basketball game. Mechele Beard shared that her husband was having an affair and that unexplained checks with a four-letter acronym were showing up in their personal account. It was discovered later that the checks came from federal and state organizations for combating drug trafficking.
However, Nakahira said this didn’t raise eyebrows at the time.
“Because of the procedure that we had set up, he was having the checks made out to him, so that didn’t raise any red flags,” Nakahira said.
The policy was that these checks would be made out to Beard. He would then cash the checks, and deliver the money to CODE or the sheriff’s office.
Nakahira said Mechele Beard’s claims were not thought to be credible at the time, and that the sheriff’s office thought she was mistaken.
“The sheriff trusted him,” Nakahira said of Scott Beard. “He had no reason to believe this guy who he promoted to captain was stealing from him. Stealing from everyone, stealing from the county, stealing from the tax payers, the federal government.”
Blanton strongly denied having any information about the embezzlement.
“Never did any allegation relating to any misappropriation of funds come to me. Ever,” he said. “If so I would have dealt with it.”
Beard’s time at the sheriff’s office began and ended in deceit.
During the internal investigation into his theft, it was discovered that Beard had doctored his discharge papers from the U.S. Navy so that they omitted any mention of him going AWOL for two years due to a drug habit, resulting in “Other Than Honorable Discharge.”
Nakahira said it is unclear how this slipped past office administration both when Beard was hired as a reserve deputy in 2001 and then as an actual deputy in 2002. If the sheriff’s office had known of his military status, he wouldn’t have been hired in the first place, Nakahira said.
Beard’s personnel file is missing, so it is unclear who is at fault for not getting the records directly from the Navy. It is not known what happened to the file, but Beard did have access to personnel records.
Interviews conducted by former Capt. John Bocciolatt in the course of the investigation show Beard was perceived as a master of getting away with unethical and unlawful behavior throughout his time at the sheriff’s office.
Twenty-eight people were interviewed during the investigation. Nearly all called Beard a “kingdom builder” because he surrounded himself with people who would not question him. Interviews show Beard worked hard at this, weeding out those who would push back against him and constantly reminding sheriff’s office employees that he alone could make or break their career.
Lt. Joe DeLuca said Beard treated personnel like “pieces moving on a chessboard,” pushing some into promotions before they even wanted it.
DeLuca said Beard was focused on “where to put people … in order for him to continue moving up the board.”
According to interviews, Beard demanded things, and looked for ways to embarrass other employees. He was known to take the patrol cars assigned to his employees. Once, he allegedly returned a car with semen left on the seat, interviews show.
An unraveling lie
According to the internal investigation, after Mechele Beard confided in Jaclyn Rupert, Rupert told her husband and they then agreed to go to Capt. Shane Nelson, who is now the sheriff. The information was specifically not taken to former Capt. Erik Utter, due to rumors of his infidelity with several women in the office, according to the investigation. After the meeting, Nelson took the information to Blanton, who told Jaclyn “not to feel special as Mechele has gone to his wife, Leak and to other people saying the same thing,” the report states.
Regardless, Blanton promised nothing would be “swept under the rug” and that an investigation would be opened. Jaclyn Rupert reported that she “felt like it fell on deaf ears.”
When interviewed, Blanton denied having not taken the allegations seriously.
“There was never anything swept under the carpet, nor did I ever discourage anyone from coming forward with information,” he told The Bulletin.
Ty Rupert reported that the next day he was called by Nakahira and told the investigation was closed. Rupert said “there was no possible way” a real investigation took place in a day, and that no investigation into the checks Mechele Beard reported showing up in their account took place. He said he felt he was put in a bad situation because he had information that could “bring this administration down.”
Nakahira, in an interview Wednesday, said following those reports he and Blanton interviewed Beard in November 2014, and Beard told them his wife was crazy, and they were having marital problems. Nakahira said that since Nelson and Beard were both captains, Nelson was removed from the situation, and all decisions were made by Blanton.
“He asked him straight up, ‘What’s going on?’” Nakahira said. “Beard started crying. Tears came out of his eyes.” Beard told them about a bad marital situation.
“Larry Blanton fully trusted him,” Nakahira said. “This is a guy who he’s promoted to captain, who was here for almost 15 years at the time. So he accepted his explanation of what was going on.”
Blanton said he regrets some of the faith he placed in Beard.
“As the sheriff I regret that I trusted him with that involvement, but I wasn’t the only person he fooled. At no time did I hear of or know of any potential allegations relating to any criminal activity, or I would have dealt with it,” he said.
Nakahira said following the reports to Jaclyn Rupert, sheriff’s office personnel reached out to Mechele Beard, who recanted everything.
Beard stole, lied and manipulated. But those under him also claim he was an ineffective leader. Many of those in the detectives division reported Beard was hardly ever at work and difficult to reach. According to interviews, a line would form outside of Beard’s office at 9 a.m. by people needing paperwork signed. The fear was that later in the day, Beard would disappear.
Beard also refused to sign nearly all search warrants for about a year, according to the investigation.
Garrison said the internal investigation never figured out why Beard put a halt on search warrants, but his guess was Beard didn’t want to draw attention to the department, and Garrison said real police work requires using money on the street.
“If they’re not doing anything, and they aren’t paying informants, that money may have been available for him to appropriate,” Garrison said.
In other cases, delays and Beard’s tactics appear to have damaged cases.
Deputy Merlin Toney recalled working a child pornography case. Toney found out the suspect had porn on a personal computer, and came in on his day off to write up a search warrant affidavit to seize the computer. Beard said to postpone the search so he wouldn’t have to pay overtime, according to the investigation. By the time Toney executed the warrant, the computer had been destroyed.
In another case, Toney arrested a 22-year-old accused of having sex with a 13-year-old. Toney was interrogating the suspect, who he said was giving false information. Toney knew he could use this against the suspect to build a case. However, Toney said Beard stormed into the room and started yelling at the suspect, who immediately asked for a lawyer, which ended the interview.
Toney recalled a deputy district attorney later saying of Beard’s tactic: “What in the world was that man thinking about?”
Many under Beard reported similar behavior, and noted how Beard’s leadership style went against their training and experience with other supervisors.
Detective Steve Mangin reported never being trained when moving into the street crimes unit, with Beard saying “you’re either a dope cop or you’re not a dope cop.” Mangin reported this stopped him from ever excelling in street crimes. Mangin said he and the others weren’t allowed to orchestrate controlled buys of drugs, because Beard was never around to authorize it. Mangin said this went on for a year, and that the time was basically “wasted.”
At one point, Beard admitted hindering the detectives division and apologized for leaving them “spinning their wheels,” according to the investigation.
Many under Beard reported during the investigation that they felt there was no one to go to with their concerns. Blanton and Beard were perceived to be very close. Toney reported Blanton let Beard “run rampant.”
“I don’t think the sheriff monitored him at all,” he said.
Blanton denied giving Beard special treatment.
“Everyone was held to the same level of accountability, including myself,” he said. “No one was protected.”
Toney reported going to Blanton once to express concerns about Beard and to his surprise, Blanton stopped him and thanked him for not talking negatively about Beard like other employees do. Toney took that as a warning not to criticize Beard ever again.
Garrison said that captains are very close to the sheriff and have a lot of responsibility. He said he knows some people felt that Beard and Blanton were very close, but pointed out Nelson was tapped to take over as sheriff, not Beard. He said the notion that Blanton protected Beard might be overblown.
Regardless, it was how many in the office saw the situation.
Rebuilding an office
Garrison and Nakahira said the sheriff’s office is going through a “healing process” following Beard’s prison sentence. Nelson replaced Blanton in July 2015 and the impact has been somewhat of a sea change.
Garrison said Blanton would come in every day, greet employees and then go up to his office.
“Sheriff Nelson has made it abundantly clear that ‘if you have a problem, and you feel the need to discuss it with me, then my door is open,’” Garrison said.
Despite Beard having so much authority over who was moved into positions of power, Garrison said when Beard was arrested the culture quickly changed. A “flood gate” was opened, and employees spoke about the horrible things they experienced under Beard. He said now employees feel empowered, and if anyone started exhibiting the manipulative and emotionally abusive tendencies Beard was known for, employees would bring it to a supervisor right away.
Garrison said it’s tough reliving what was essentially a black eye for the department, but he sees a brighter future.
“Is this a failing of our system? Certainly,” Garrison said. “The sheriff set the course, and we’re only trying to improve and work forward and be the sheriff’s office our community expects us to be.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0376, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more than a year, Scott Beard callously stole money from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. He was cunning, covering his tracks with forged signatures and using other employees to move money they didn’t know was stolen. And he was brazen, too, stealing as much as $19,939 in a single instance.
In the end, he was caught by an audit, according to the results of a yearlong investigation by the sheriff’s office that was obtained by The Bulletin as a result of a records request.
Beth Raguine took over as business manager for the sheriff’s office on July 1, 2015. It was the same day Shane Nelson took over as sheriff. Because of the change in leadership, Deschutes County Auditor David Givens suggested Raguine might want to do a review of how money comes in and out of the office’s street crimes division, and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team.
On Sept. 21, 2015, Raguine got a master log of investigative funds for CODE and street crimes. She quickly discovered something wasn’t right.
Raguine found that the books showed CODE had received $135,000 in buy money so far that year. But Bend Police Lt. Ken Mannix, the manager for CODE, reported receiving only $53,000 in buy money. Mannix told Raguine there must be a mistake, as there was no way CODE could have received $135,000.
A few days later, Raguine contacted Givens and told him there might be an issue. She then contacted Nelson, who suggested she reach out to Beard. Nelson also asked to meet with her the following morning.
On Sept. 23, Raguine met with Nelson and Darryl Nakahira, the sheriff’s office attorney, and ran them through the discrepancy. Later, the three met with Beard, to see if the missing money had been put in another account they weren’t aware of. Raguine also asked Beard if he could identify a weird signature used on many of the documents as part of a “two-signature” safeguard.
Beard could offer no explanation for the signature or missing money.
Since the second signature should have belonged to someone who was with Beard while money was being moved around, she thought it was strange he couldn’t identify it. At this point, Raguine believed Beard had embezzled the missing money, and was using the unidentified signature to sign cash transfer forms.
During the interview, Raguine told Beard that street crimes was short $10,000. Beard responded that he would go to the bank and get $10,000. Beard ended the meeting when Raguine responded: “We have a problem!”
The next day the FBI opened an investigation into embezzlement. It was later discovered that Beard would take money from evidence and then bring it to the county finance department, but would skim off the top. He also would take asset forfeiture money from other agencies in CODE, including the Redmond Police or Warm Springs police departments, but that money would never make it to CODE.
Beard was tasked with moving money around from various accounts. The investigation found sometimes money never made it to where it was supposed to go, and other times receipts showed only a portion made it."
HOW THE FEW DISGRACE THE MANY. DRUG ISSUES BEFORE EVER HIRED - -
Mike Winters’ leadership questioned in county review December 29, 2016
Jackson County, Ore.- A review requested by Jackson County after Sheriff Corey Falls filed a complaint of discrimination,
appears to question
former Sheriff Mike Winters’ leadership.
Winters is one of six candidates vying to fill the Sheriff’s position for the next two years. At a county commissioners meeting Wednesday, he laid out his argument for becoming Sheriff.
“I don’t think there’s anyone better to address it because I stood here for 12 years,” said Winters.
Winters is the only candidate for Sheriff mentioned in the review by the county.
That review includes claims Falls made regarding Winters and his administration, including:
- Sheriff Winters ordered part of the Jackson County Jail to open during a re-election campaign even though an assessment showed it wasn’t feasible to do so.
- Sheriff Winters threatened the jobs of command dissenters.
- The ability to perform background checks was compromised in the effort to open the basement of the jail. As a result some staff weren’t suitable for hire and should have been rejected.
- Traffic deputies were informed not to enforce DUII as it didn’t generate enough revenue.
- Criminal traffic citations were cited into Justice Court in order to generate more revenue.
While the authors of the review did not directly address the claims, they do say in a footnote later in the review,
Winters’ “…continuation of what he did as an Oregon State trooper without apparent change or personal growth was not in keeping with the needs of an agency of this size nor a community of the size and with the needs of Jackson County.”
The review further states,
“Sheriff Winters neglected managerial and leadership issues core to his office, and often promoted based on a ‘Good-Ole-Boy’ network.”
Finally, the authors conclude
“Sheriff Winters did not perform the functions deemed to be essential to the position he held.”
Vet and Investigate
Michael Scott Winters.
How did he ever become sheriff, his contracts, the equipment, the marijuana eradication in the BILLIONS and what he did 12 years in office. Nearly 30 million a year in dept money.
To the core.
Michael Scott Winters. " Lead through fear and intimidation."
First wife took-out a restraining order because he threatened her, " I have my gun and you won't see anyone." He also, " knocked around," her young daughter. " She was afraid."
So why were the three current Commissioners willing to entertain him as interim-sheriff and Danny Jordan did not intervene? Vett.