An audit of departmental accounts of the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office between 2003 and 2006 has revealed a deficit of $41,397 and former Sheriff Gene Hollon may be held accountable.

Terry Sebastian, communications director for State Auditor Crit Luallen’s Office, said sheriff’s offices across the commonwealth are audited each year because the sheriff is an local official responsible for collecting fees. When a new sheriff takes office, a final audit of the outgoing sheriff is completed.

“The old accounts have to be closed out and new accounts established for the incoming sheriff,” Sebastian explained.

According to remarks from the auditors who completed the process in Laurel County, disallowed expenditures included: $10,685 for interest on bank notes, $5,619 for credit card expenditures without proper documentation, $7,125 for employer paid health insurance, $2,737 for a storage bill on a forfeited truck and $2,475 in bank charges.

Auditors commented that Hollon should have reviewed health insurance billings to ensure proper premiums were paid on appropriate employees; maintained proper documentation for all expenditures and avoided paying late fees and interest from his official fee account; and should not have paid a storage bill on a truck whose title has not been transferred to the sheriff’s office.

Auditors recommended Hollon deposit personal funds into the official bank account to cover the deficit.

“I don’t think I owe this except for the excess sheriff’s salary,” Hollon told the auditors. “The rest was used to run the office.”

Sebastian said auditors have turned their findings over to the attorney general.

What, if any, legal action may be taken to resolve the matter would be up to individuals from those offices.

“We are not law enforcement,” Sebastian said of the state auditor’s office.

Allison Martin, communications director at the Attorney General’s office, said the paperwork arrived at their office late last week.

“We will be reviewing it in conjunction with the county attorney to determine if there is cause to file criminal charges,” Martin said.

Martin offered no timetable for when the investigation would be completed.

Staff writer Dean Manning may be reached at dmanning@sentinel-echo.com.

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