Funds missing from magistrate’s office, special audit reveals

An audit has revealed nearly $1,000 missing from the office of the Grady County Magistrate’s Court, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Grady County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the matter.
Grady County Chief Magistrate Larry Bearden says he discovered a discrepancy last fall and alerted Grady County County Administrator Rusty Moye and then the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s Investigator Steve Clark says because the missing money was connected to a county government official, the GBI was asked to lead the probe.
The Grady County Commission hired Perry Henry, a certified public accountant in Bainbridge, to conduct an audit of the magistrate office’s finances. Henry looked through financial history from early 2008 to late 2009, and found the office was missing between $900 and $1,000, Clark says.
The magistrate’s office collects court fines and small claims civil court monies.
“I did what I was supposed to. I’ve provided all the paperwork and cooperated fully,” Bearden says.
Clark says the investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed. “According to the auditor we have missing money. We’re investigating to see what we can come up with,” Clark says.
The investigation began in late November 2009 but became public Tuesday when the county commission approved payment of $4,143.50 to the auditor for the services rendered.

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