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8/15/2013 6:00:00 AM
No crime found in probe of Mohave County life insurance mistake

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

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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Related Stories:
• Supervisor favors probe of Mohave County insurance gaffe
• Insurance goof will cost Mohave County

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: head scratcher

Wow. I paid for auto insurance once and the agent never sent in the policy. Fortunately, I didn't have a need for coverage for those 3-4 months. It seems as if there's sort of a "no harm / no foul" principle here - so long as those individuals get their premium money back - providing this was term insurance. If it was some kind of cash value policy, someone owes not only the money, but the accrued increase for the time the policy was not in effect. It was not criminal if it was an oversight but someone still needs to make it as right as they can - and it would be the county.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: enigma enigma

Now either someone covered it up good or someone is incompetent but one has to ask where did the insurance payments go if they did not go to buy insurance?

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