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5:24 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

County prosecutes former employee on fraud, theft charges

KINGMAN – Mohave County officials announced Wednesday that they were “vigorously” prosecuting former employee Donald L. Condra on multiple felony counts.

According to the county, Condra, a former employee of the Mohave County Public Works Department, has been charged with a fraudulent scheme, three counts of forgery, two counts of theft and computer tampering.

“I received a call alerting me of a possibly forged document,” Public Works Director Mike Hendrix said. After immediately notifying County Manager Ron Walker, Hendrix was instructed to contact Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack. The investigation led to an arrest warrant being issued for Condra.

“I take this personally,” Hendrix said. “If Mr. Condra is convicted of these charges, I would like to see him receive the maximum penalty to warn other con-men and thieves as to what we will do to them if they defraud the people of Mohave County.”

“After an exhaustive investigation,” said Terry Flanagan, investigator with the County Attorney’s office, “we know that Condra altered and/or forged three checks and deposited the money in the account of his own company, Expedited Networks in Kingman.

“We know he forged a letter in the name of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and sent it to a contractor to allow development of property. And, recently, four computers were stolen from the Public Works Department. Those computers were found, in use, at Condra’s business office for Expedited Networks.”

The investigation also uncovered that Condra had allegedly made false statements on his application for work with the county, Flanagan said. College degrees allegedly received from Apache University in Pensacola, Fla., have proven to be false, as the college does not exist. An online university Web page for the college was apparently established and maintained by Condra, according to Flanagan.

“His employment history also lists a company which turned out to have an address that Condra used for other businesses he operated,” he said. An application for a mortgage brokers license from the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions is also under investigation.

According to the news release, Condra was hired in 2004 as an engineer technician for Mohave County. In 2005, he was assigned to work on a project that dealt with the issuance of a “letter of map revision for development.”

According to Flanagan, the developing company was required to “submit plans, diagrams and engineering documents,” to the Public Works Flood Control Division, accompanied by a check for a specified amount made out to the “Fee Change System Administrator.”

After submission, it was supposed to be reviewed by the assigned technician. Flanagan said that in this case, Condra was the technician assigned. All paperwork, along with the check, was then supposed to be forwarded to FEMA. If the request was approved by FEMA, they would then issue a letter of map revision.

The developer in Condra’s situation received this letter on FEMA letterhead in February 2005, with the developer eventually submitting it to his bank for loan approvals, Flanagan said. The bank notified the developer that a negative reply was received from FEMA during a verification process, pointing to the letter being a forgery.

According to the investigation, the developer reviewed his documents and noted that both checks that his office had issued had been altered and that “Expedited Networks” had been added after the wording “Fee Change System Administrator.”

“The back of the checks contained the hand-written wording, ‘For deposit only Expedited Networks Compass Bank.’ The checks had been deposited on Dec. 29, 2005,” Flanagan said.

At the same time, according to the county’s news release, Condra apparently became aware of the questioning into the FEMA letter. His letter of resignation was turned in on March 24.

The developer quickly notified Hendrix of the suspicions and started the ball rolling. Condra surrendered, with his attorney present, to the Mohave Court on April 24. Superior Court Judge Steven Conn released him without bond, scheduling a case management hearing for May 15. Condra is being represented by Rick Williams.

“In the hiring of Condra,” Hendrix said, “all standard county procedures were followed. Unfortunately, they just don’t appear to have been con-man proof.”

“If Condra is convicted,” Zack said, “he is looking at many years in prison.’

According to county officials, Condra’s actions are still being investigated.

“We are still looking at documents, certificates and checks and keeping in contact with state financial institutions and FEMA,” Flanagan said.