Milwaukie theft investigation extends nearly a year
At least nine irregular transactions between May 25, 2011, and April 25, 2012, led to the arrest of Juli Howard on six counts of theft, and six counts each of official misconduct and computer crimes, which allegedly occurred while she was employed as an assistant city recorder for Milwaukie.
According to court records, Howard allegedly laundered more than $1,000 that citizens had designated to pay for their Milwaukie Municipal Court fines.
A shortage of public funds was first discovered when two men each paid Howard $200 for Milwaukie court citations on May 25, 2011. Howard then transferred payment from the one who paid his $200 fine with a credit card to the one who paid his $200 in cash after an accounts funds must have been applied in error, according to an April 10, 2012, memorandum.
The discrepancy wasnt discovered until almost a year later because the first man had to come back to the Milwaukie Municipal Court to complain after the DMV suspended his license. He showed a stamped receipt from Howard for the $200 in cash that he had paid, but the funds hadnt been applied to his fine.
Such details emerged in court documents that prompted now-retired Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Steven L. Maurer on Aug. 16 to issue several search warrants at Milwaukie City Hall, Howards home and her 2005 Honda Pilot SUV. The April 10 memorandum had compelled Assistant Finance Director Rita Byrne to investigate later possible irregularities before turning the case over to the Milwaukie Police Department.
Milwaukie Police Detective Kevin Krebs suspected that Howard obtained cash from dozens of municipal court defendants before recording them as a check payment. She then voided the check payment, according to Krebs, which would make the reconciliation balance at the end of the day.
Due to the elaborate nature Mrs. Howard employed to obtain the cash from the citations, it is likely there are more instances of theft that have yet to be uncovered, and only a thorough audit of all citations Mrs. Howard processed could reveal other thefts, Krebs wrote. (Computer storage) devices can easily be hidden on a person, in a persons vehicle or anywhere a person has access to inside or outside of their residence.