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Sun, March 24

Former county employee found guilty of 8 charges

Donald Condra

Donald Condra

KINGMAN - A former county employee may be looking at serious prison time.

Donald Condra, 53, formerly of Kingman was found guilty of four counts of forgery, two counts of theft, one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices and one count of tampering with a computer.

His sentencing hearing will be held on Aug. 13. Judge Steven Conn ordered Condra to be held without bail in the county jail until the hearing.

"The County Attorney's Office did an outstanding job," said Public Works Director Mike Hendrix. "Just a phenomenal job."

Condra worked for the County Public Works Flood Control District from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, Condra allegedly forged and then deposited several checks from T&M Ranch Developing and another company and then allegedly forged a Federal Emergency Management Agency Letter of Map Revision when T&M began to ask questions.

A total of $5,000 was taken from T&M and another $800 from C. David Custom Homes.

"As I listened to testimony in this case, especially from the defendant, I was struck by how unlucky he was," said Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack in his closing argument. "Especially to have five people lie and try to cheat him all within a three month period."

Condra kept shaking his head "no" as Zack attempted to pull apart his testimony.

Zack said that Condra's story that his supervisor at the Flood Control District allegedly stole several thousand dollars in cash from him and then tried to cover it up by depositing forged checks into a bank account owned by Condra was unbelievable. Especially since even Condra didn't know he was going to get the money that day.

He also said it was unlikely that another county employee allegedly stole four computers from the County Public Works building and then allegedly sold them to Condra.

It was also unlikely that the receipt Condra allegedly received for the computers was lost when an investigator from the County Attorney's Office, Terry Flanagan, allegedly "invaded" Condra's business without a search warrant.

"He tries to con everyone," Zack said. "Who has the motive to lie here, other than the defendant, no one."

"If he's a con artist, how stupid could he be?" said Condra's attorney, Jeffery James. "So stupid that he deposits checks into his own account and puts stolen computers into his business?"

The state's argument doesn't make sense, he said. Why would someone deposit allegedly forged checks into their own account? "I hope you don't accidentally have a check deposited into one of your bank accounts," he told the jury. "And then have Terry Flanagan investigate you for it."

Condra was told by his supervisor to collect all the information for the FEMA letter and forward it to FEMA. It was the supervisor that allegedly told T&M that the information had been sent in for review and was approved.

James pointed out that Condra's supervisor was allegedly having financial difficulties at the time.

James also argued that there was no independent investigation of the allegedly stolen computers to determine if they actually belonged to the county or who stole them.

There was no search of computer hard drives or e-mail accounts by the state, he said. "You have to use your common sense," James said. "The state has failed its burden."

Zack argued that it did make sense that someone who forged a check would deposit it into their own checking account. Who else would have the information to do so?

"The defendant's plan was very good," Zack said. "He very nearly got away with it until a lending agency decided to check."

Once T&M got the FEMA letter approving its request to modify a flood prone area in order to build in it, the company went to a lender in order to get a loan to help finance the project. The lender double checked with the FEMA office in Washington, D.C. and found that the letter was forged.

It was then that T&M found that several of their checks were not deposited with the county and the whole case unraveled from there.


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