Oklahoma investigators review inmate accounts at Craig County jail

OSBI is investigating inmate trust accounts after a state audit reveals discrepancies, including $36,000 marked as received but not verified. Craig County Sheriff Jimmie Sooter blames poor bookkeeping and not embezzlement for the discrepancies.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: January 18, 2013

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into possible embezzlement at the Craig County jail.

A bureau spokeswoman said authorities were asked to look into the jail's finances after a state audit revealed discrepancies in the trust account that holds inmate funds for commissary purchases.

The special audit, released in October, demonstrated nearly $36,000 marked as received by the jail could not be verified as deposited into the account.

Craig County Sheriff Jimmie Sooter said his office is cooperating with investigators.

“In my opinion there is no money missing; I think it's just terrible bookkeeping, that's all,” Sooter said on Thursday. “OSBI is looking into it and whatever they find, we'll go with it.”

The audit and subsequent investigation were requested by District Attorney Janice Steidley, who was not available for comment.

The account under review holds money found on inmates when they were booked into the jail as well as money deposited by inmates' relatives during incarceration. The cash is supposed to be deposited and credited to inmate accounts daily and is managed solely by the sheriff's office.

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