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A arrest warrant has been issued for a former state scrap-tire district office manager in connection to $91,000 in unaccounted revenue, unauthorized expenses and salary overpayments at the district.

Stephanie Sheppard, 43, is wanted regarding theft of property, a Class B felony when the value of property exceeds $25,000. It is punishable by five to 20 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Sheppard is the former office manager at the West River Valley Regional Solid Waste Management District in Clarksville, a subset of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality that oversees nine counties for management of solid waste and scrap tires.

Capt. Greg Donaldson, the Johnson County sheriff's office jail administrator, said he could not verify whether Sheppard had been picked up on the warrant since it was issued Feb. 12 because a virus has taken down the sheriff's office's computer system.

A message left at the Johnson County prosecutor's office asking if Sheppard had been picked up went unreturned Tuesday.

Court records do not show a plea and arraignment hearing, usually scheduled shortly after a person's arrest.

Attempts to contact Sheppard via telephone were unsuccessful.

The IRS informed then-West River Valley district director Tim Lewellyn in September 2015 that the district had not paid all taxes on its employees, according to the affidavit for Sheppard's arrest.

Lewellyn fired Sheppard in January 2016 after he and assistant director Frank Baker determined that Sheppard had been writing duplicate checks, voiding checks and cashing them and made several unauthorized purchases.

In February of that year, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Legislative Audit undertook an investigation into the matter. They found $45,976 in unauthorized credit card purchases for clothing, shoes, food and utilities, among other things.

Investigators also found $19,789 in salary overpayments, including $9,135 in unearned annual leave.

Another $24,170 was unaccounted for, and Sheppard was also overpaid $1,790 in expense reimbursements, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit is signed by Arkansas State Police Sgt. Kevin Brown.

The latest legislative audit available of the district is from 2014, when auditors found no instances of noncompliance and offered no opinion on internal financial reporting controls.

An official with the Legislative Audit said the agency has performed another audit for the district, but it is not yet final and will likely be released prior to the agency's next meeting in April.

In 2016, the district caught the attention of lawmakers, Department of Environmental Quality officials and others because of financial problems and because it was improperly keeping two piles of hundreds of thousands of tires on Johnson County properties.

Lewellyn resigned, and Baker was later fired by the district's board.

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Metro on 02/21/2018

Print Headline: Ex-state worker accused in diversion of $91,000

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