Edgar Co. (ECWd) -
According to a police report obtained thru the Freedom of Information Act, a police investigation into Jamie Trogdon, Administrative Assistant to Edgar County Sheriff Jeff Wood, revealed the following alleged criminal activity being presented to the Appellate Prosecutor's Office:
- Official Misconduct
- Theft of Governmental Funding (Between $10,000-$100,000)
- Retirement Fraud - based upon the money received being pensionable income
The total dollar figure is in excess of $15,000.00
There are so many problems exposed in the report we don't know where to start.
Edgar County is known for having the fox watch the hen house and it appears, the same is the case with Sheriff Wood. When Sheriff Wood was confronted he responded:
- Sheriff Wood responded with adamant denial to the claim, believing it to be baseless and unfounded.
Interesting position to take considering the investigation determined the Sheriff does not personally validate the accuracy of the payroll records in question. Nothing like having the lead fox in the County denies wrongdoing in his office when he doesn't even validate the accuracy of payroll.
Next stop, Illinois State Police.
- "I was later informed by Sergeant Dumonceaux that he had spoken with Sheriff Wood who indicated that "everything was fine" alluding to there being no need for a criminal investigation into the matter. As a result of that assurance, I was informed per authority of Master Sergeant Michael Campbell; Zone-5 Investigations would not lead this investigation as the Sheriff did not believe any criminal conduct was occurring."
Yes, since the lead Fox said everything was fine, the ISP refuses to investigate.
Paris Police continued handling the investigation.
- log indications of Jamie leaving the building and not returning
- Jamie arriving at work habitually late
- Jamie departing work early on a regular basis
- Jamie not working at all on a given day all of which resulted in her being credited for a full 8-Hours of work daily, with exception to days where she utilized an allotted benefit time (vacation day, sick day, holiday, etc.) for which she was still paid.
- On almost a daily basis, Jamie was logged on-duty for work 15-30 minutes late
- in many instances logged off-duty prior to her scheduled time of 4: 00 P .M.
- At other times during the workday, dispatch logs would reflect her leaving the building for various personal reasons; among those being "car shopping"
- Specifically, 58 of 61 pay periods where pay wages were credited; yet by all appearances unaccounted for.
How bad is it?
- In the year 2017, approximately 54.25 regular working hours were documented as potentially fraudulent at a pay rate of $13.50/Hour; accumulating to an end figure of $732.37
- In 2018, this number increased drastically where approximately 101.25 regular working hours were noted as potentially fraudulent at a pay rate of $14.50/Hour; in addition to 49.25 hours of credited overtime pay at a 1.5 times multiplied rate ($21.75/Hour) accumulating to the amount of $2,539.30 total.
- in 2019 approximately 23 regular working hours were noted as possibly fraudulent at a pay rate of $14.94/Hour, in addition to 150.25 hours of credited overtime pay at a rate of$22.41/Hour accumulating to the amount of$3,710.72.The grand total figure of wages received by Jamie for years 2017-2019 in terms of potentially falsified time cards was found to be in excess of $6,982
As if that is not bad enough....
"Additionally, it was determined that pursuant to Sections 5-1 and 5-3" of the same policy; employees such as Jamie were to be entitled to one-hour of lunch which was unpaid daily, resulting in a 35-Hour work week"
"Based upon the discovery pertaining to unpaid lunch hours, I again reviewed all associated payroll records; where I verified that Jamie credited herself with an 8-Hour workday regularly, as opposed to the 7-Hour day that is outlined and required per policy. As a result, a separate calculation was made taking into account one paid hour for every business day worked excluding county recognized holidays; multiplied by Jamie's .hourly rate for a given year (2017, 2018, 2019 respectively) accumulating to a total of $8,036.68 in paid lunches during the period of time between 2017-2019. This increased the grand total figure of seemingly misappropriated funds to the amount of $15,019.07."
- "her behavior was characterized as generally "Lazy" citing that a majority of her time actually present in the building was spent in the 9-1-1 dispatching center utilizing her phone for personal business. She was also described to engage in activities such as applying makeup, or serve as a babysitter to her paramour's children while on the clock."
In light of all those findings by the Police, what was the Sheriff's position?
"All of which, was reportedly conveyed to Sheriff Wood in frustration; however he refused to pursue any disciplinary action on the matter."
Can it get worse?
Yes, the Fox will protect his hens, even by admitting to a potential crime of his own!
- Sheriff Wood states: "well, it's not like we all haven't fudged our timesheets from time to time"
- Sheriff Wood also informed me that "Jamie was not subject to the policies and procedures outlined in the county personnel policy, or the E.C.S.D. policy and operations manual citing it to be outdated"
- "He further claimed that she was only bound by the rules he sets forth to her verbally."
The conversation with the Sheriff ended with this:
"This conversation ended with Sheriff Wood being informed that this investigation would be forwarded to the Illinois Appellate Prosecutors Office for determination of any applicable criminal charges."
From the report:
"Throughout the course of this investigation, I had cause to speak with a number of Edgar County Employees; some of which are mentioned above, who all collectively believe whether it be through direct first-hand observations of constant absenteeism, or hearsay to this effect, that Jamie has blatantly abused her position for personal benefit as allowed by the Sheriff. These employees via a series of conversations have also cited their belief that a complete lack of authority and control demonstrated by Sheriff Wood is a large contributory factor to this issue."
"Based upon the totality of circumstances, and facts gathered as part of the investigation, this report is being forwarded to the office of State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor for review. I would respectfully submit request to the Special Prosecution Unit, for consideration as to the issuance of an appearance notice; or any alternative action viewed as appropriate against Jamie Trogdon for the offenses of Official Misconduct pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/33-3 (A)(3), Theft of Governmental Funding (Between $10,000-$100,000) pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/16-1 (B)(5.l), and Retirement Fraud pursuant to 40 ILCS 5/1-135 based upon the money received being pensionable income contributed to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). Attached to this report, will be all supporting documents relevant to this investigation that were obtained through various county entities; in addition to organizational documents that reflect calculations from pay period to pay period. No further information to report at this time."
Food for thought:
With Edgar county passing a 1% safety tax that is scheduled to bring in over a $1,000,000.00 a year in revenue, who will be the next Edgar County Sheriff employee to benefit from our County Sheriffs' failures to truly protect the taxpayers?
You can read the entire report by downloading it from this link or view below.
Jamie Trogdon-Sturgell was hired in 2015 on the recommendation of the interview committee consisting of Nancy Zeman (Prairie Press) and Nanette Crippes (Edgar County 911) (article here).
***As a reminder, all people are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty in a court of law.