Switz Co. Highway Super Accused Of Keeping Scrap Metal Monies
By Mike Perleberg
(Switzerland County, Ind.) – The superintendent of the Switzerland County Highway Department is accused of keeping cash obtained through the sale of the county’s scrap metal.
Christopher Clerkin, 44, was charged with Theft, Official Misconduct, and Failure to Deposit Public Funds on May 21. All three charges are Class D felonies.
According to a court affidavit filed in Switzerland Circuit Court, Indiana State Police detectives began to investigate Clerkin for the alleged money theft in December 2013. Clerkin was responsible for the funds generated through scrap metal sales by taking the monies generated and the receipts to the Switzerland County Auditor for deposit.
Investigators obtained receipts of the scrap sales made at an Osgood scrap business in 2012 and 2013. They showed the highway department with receipts for $4,888 deposited in 2012 and $2,017 in 2013, plus $488 on an undated receipt.
Those amounts should have gone into the county coffers. However, investigators allege that only three deposits totaling $540 were made with the county auditor’s office during the two years.
State police were told by at least seven different county highway employees that the money and receipts from the scrap sales were given to Clerkin.
Detectives spoke with Clerkin last December. With a lawyer present, he told investigators that he only ordered scrap to be sold only four or five times in 2012 and once in 2013. He claimed he took the money to the county auditor no later than the following day.
Clerkin has been placed on suspension without pay, Switzerland County Commissioners assistant Bruce Williams said Wednesday. He had been appointed superintendent of the highway department in 2011.
Clerkin posted a cash bond of $600 to get out of jail on May 22. A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for May 12, 2015.
A special judge and prosecutor have been appointed to the case after the recusals of Switzerland County Prosecutor Monica Hensley and Judge W. Gregory Coy. Now handling the court case are Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel and Ripley Superior Court Judge James B. Morris.