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No crime found in probe of Mohave County life insurance mistake
8/15/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
KINGMAN - An investigation of a paperwork snafu that left 18 county workers without the life insurance coverage they were paying for has turned up no criminal wrongdoing, according to Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson.
"We are pleased to report that nothing criminal was discovered," Watson said in a statement released Tuesday.
In a phone call Wednesday, Watson said he could not discuss the particulars of the investigation because it was discussed during an executive session of the Board on Aug. 5. The Miner has requested a copy of the investigative report, but one was not available before press time.
County Human Resource Director Ray Osuna and County Finance Director John Timko alerted the Board of a possible paperwork error with the county's life insurance policy with Lincoln Financial Life in March.
At that time, Osuna said his office had discovered paperwork errors dating back to 2009 showing that 18 employees had been charged for life insurance coverage but never received it. Three of those employees left the county before the mistake was found. He also found that the county was still being charged for five employees who had been terminated.
The Board of Supervisors is not in charge of employee benefits. A separate non-elected body called the Mohave County Employee Benefits Trust governs employee benefits.
Timko told the Board in March that the fluctuating cost of life insurance and the insurance company's lump sum payment method made it difficult to spot the errors.
The county stopped the payroll deductions for the policies on July 20.
In April, the Board appointed former County Investigator Terry Flanagan and James Schoppmann, an attorney who works for the
Mohave County Sheriff's Office
, to handle the investigation. The FBI also sent a forensic auditor to help with the investigation.
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