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Wathan sentenced to three years probation in theft case

January 4, 2013
John Speer - Central Iowa Press , Traer Star-Clipper

Gwen Elaine Wathan, the former administrator of the Tama County Jail in Toledo, received a deferred judgement and was placed on probation for three years by Tama County District Court Judge Mitchell E. Turner on Thursday, Dec. 27.

She appeared with her attorney Matthew Lindholm. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Robert Sand represented the state.

Wathan was directed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty.

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Wathan, 52, of Toledo, pled guilty to 1st degree theft on Oct. 25 involving the alleged embezzlement of $46,752 in Tama County jail fees between January, 2007 and December, 2010. The money was described in court records as jail room and board fees and bond money.

A charge of felonious misconduct in office was dismissed by Judge Turner.

Wathan had served as the administrator of the jail from November, 1999, until the discovery of missing funds in 2010 at which time she was suspended from the post and subsequently fired.

An audit released by State Auditor David Vaudt in June 2011 determined the amount of missing money.

An investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation ensued and the charges were filed on April 26, 2012.

Court records note separate proceedings are seeking restitution to the county for $21,802.

A statement of pecuniary damages seeking restitution was filed by Sand on Nov. 15. It notes "Much of the amount listed as missing from the Auditor's Report cannot be verified as ever having come from the Tama County Sheriff's Office or Tama Clerk's Office, including for example, $11,717.21 in unbilled room and board fee."

He notes all the amounts were in cash and "accessible to numerous individuals."

He goes on to state, "Defendant has consistently denied taking any of the $5,250 in missing bond money. She passed a polygraph exam in this regard."

In a separate action in Tama County District Court, IMT?Insurance Company filed suit against Wathan on Nov. 30 seeking $25,000 for repayment of the bond money claim paid to Tama County.

While serving as jail administrator, Wathan was covered by an IMT fidelity bond.



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