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Ex-fire chief for Colorado City may avoid jail in deal

Jacob Barlow, the former Colorado City fire chief accused of using taxpayer money for purposes other than the fire district, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of solicitation for misuse of public money.

As part of the plea agreement, Barlow will be sentenced to probation and required to pay $5,000 to the Mohave County Attorney's Office and $2,000 to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office to cover the costs of the investigation and prosecution. Jail time remains a possibility as well.

All other charges against Barlow have been dismissed as part of the agreement.

If Barlow can successfully complete his probation, the two counts will be lowered to misdemeanors, but until then they will be considered felonies, said Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn.

If Barlow is unable to meet the terms of his probation, he could face two years apiece for the felony convictions.

"It's hard for me to imagine that I would put you on unsupervised probation," Conn told Barlow. Conn will sentence Barlow in March.

Barlow and Colorado City Town Manager David Darger, who used to serve as the fire district's secretary/treasurer, were both indicted in the summer of 2011 on multiple counts related to the alleged misuse fire district money.

At the time both pleaded not guilty.

Conn said Darger has not yet entered into a plea agreement.

Nearly 30 disks of information containing financial records as far back as 2004 were confiscated when Barlow and Darger's homes as well as fire district offices were searched by law enforcement in April 2010.

Darger and Barlow allegedly transferred money out of a County Treasurer's Office account and placed it in two different accounts allegedly used to pay off multiple credit cards issued to the fire district as far back as 2004.

The two counts Barlow pleaded guilty to Friday stem from two occasions where $28,000 and $24,000 were deposited in a Utah bank not designated for public money. The guilty plea does not include whether or not that money was actually misused.

When asked if he understood what he was pleading guilty to, Barlow replied, "Yes, your honor."


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