Friday, April 21, 2017

NEWTON COUNTY ASSESSOR CONVICTED ON FELONY THEFT CHARGES - RESIGNS FROM OFFICE A SECOND TIME

 
SHELIA McCUTCHEON

Sheila McCutcheon, the Newton County assessor was found guilty Tuesday of felony theft and promptly resigned.

McCutcheon (59) a Republican, entered a no-contest plea during her jury trial at the courthouse in Jasper. Two witnesses had testified before the plea deal was reached Tuesday afternoon.

Circuit Judge John Putman ruled McCutcheon guilty in open court while the jury was in recess.

JUDGE JOHN PUTMAN

As part of the plea agreement, Putman ordered McCutcheon to pay $10,040 in restitution to Arkansas Legislative Audit. She also must pay court costs and fees totaling about $470.

McCutcheon was sentenced to five years' probation and agreed not to run for public office again, Putman said.

As part of the deal, theft charges were dropped against former Deputy Assessor Desiray McCutcheon, 36, Sheila McCutcheon's daughter-in-law.

DESIRAY McCUTCHEON

The McCutcheons, both of Vendor, were arrested June 17 by the Arkansas State Police after a state audit revealed that $11,504 worth of personal items were purchased with county credit cards from 2010 through 2015, according to charges filed in Newton County Circuit Court.

Putman said the purchases in question included a lawnmower, rib-eye steaks, beer, cigarettes and Grecian Formula, a hair-coloring product for men.

The purchases were made with Wal-Mart credit cards that were meant for assessor's office supplies, according to a probable-cause affidavit from Ted Jones, a state police agent.

Bank records indicated the women had made attempts to repay the credit card account for personal purchases over time.

Vickie Bartholomew, the Newton County treasurer, said Sheila McCutcheon wrote a check to the county in June for $10,458.

VICKIE BARTHOLOMEW - NEWTON CO. TREASURER


Putman said McCutcheon contends that she has paid back more than the $11,504 in question.

He said the $10,040 in restitution to Legislative Audit will repay the agency for time spent working on the audit.

According to Legislative Audit, $7,483 in personal purchases were identified by McCutcheon and $4,021 in personal purchases were identified by audit staff based on interviews with county officials.

As part of the deal Tuesday, McCutcheon also agreed to plead guilty to a perjury charge in Boone County, but that charge will be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, Putman said. McCutcheon has yet to be sentenced in that case.

The perjury charge stems from a civil-court case regarding the estate of McCutcheon's mother, Frances Lorene Smith of Vendor, who died June 22, 2014, at age 82.

McCutcheon said under oath at a court hearing in Harrison on Feb. 11, 2016, that she had never forged her deceased mother's name, but a handwriting expert determined McCutcheon had forged Smith's name on more than 50 documents.

McCutcheon's resignation Tuesday marked the second time she has resigned within the past year.

She resigned in June 2015 when she was charged with theft. Then she was re-elected Nov. 8 as the only assessor candidate on the ballot. She resumed her old job as assessor in January.

Sheila McCutcheon was deputy assessor from 1993-96 before being elected assessor for the first time in 1997. She served continuously as assessor from then until her resignation in June.

Under Arkansas Code Annotated 21-12-302, a county officer who is convicted of a felony shall be ousted from office.

George Stone, McCutcheon's attorney,
told reporters back in 2016 that as a result of the McCutcheon's actions, the county had actually "made a windfall" of several thousand dollars due to them repaying more that they stole. He also stated that she was innocent.

GREG "ONE SHIRT" STONE - ATTORNEY OF THE 'INNOCENT' ASSESSOR THAT PLEADED GUILTY

Stone also stated, “Everybody strives to do things according to code and whatnot and sometimes we fall short,". "But it was not a theft of property and she’d been paying on whatever bill she had for her own personal use all along.”

Let's hope that criminal law is not something Stone regularly practices. Apparently he needs all the work he can drum up as he has only has one casual shirt to wear.  Check out the televised news stories, made on different days months apart, in which Stone has on the same shirt each time.




video





video



McCutcheon was a firm believer in nepotism in that she had family members (daughter-in-law and daughter) working for her at different times.

Her daughter, Amber Smith showed her professionalism on a television news report (can be seen in the 2nd video above).

This is what happened:

A reporter and cameraman from television station KSPR went inside the courthouse to try to talk to Sheila McCutcheon after a being arrested again — this time for perjury.

“Get the hell out,” said McCutheon’s daughter, Amber Smith.

Smith works for her mother.

“If you’re not going to help her, she’s done nothing wrong, then get the hell out of this office,” said Smith.

“Then why has she been arrested for perjury?” asked a reporter.

“None of your fucking business,” said Smith.

The KSPR News crews came back a second time to get video of Smith's mother’s office and this happened:

“Out,” Smith yelled.

“This is a public place,” said the reporter.

“I don’t give a fuck. I don’t want this here,” Smith said.

“This is a public courthouse,” said the reporter.

“I don’t care. They paid you off to run that bitch and I don’t give a fuck,” Smith said.

“We were not paid,” the reporter replied.

“Have me arrested. Have me arrested,” Smith said.

Then Smith said this: “She’s done nothing wrong and we’re tired of all this bullshit. Why do you think the judge wouldn’t talk to you the last time you was here? Because he’s not against her. You know what. I’m calling the sheriff. Fuck this."



AMBER SMITH - McCUTCHEON'S DAUGHTER

Deputies came and told Smith that is was a public place and the news crew had the right to be in the hallway.

Apparently this family slept through civics class in high school.

Readers will recall the the Prosecuting Attorney for this Judicial District, David Ethredge,  has issues following the law as well.

http://badgovernmentinarkansas.blogspot.com/2017/01/why-do-prosecuting-attorneys-have.html

http://badgovernmentinarkansas.blogspot.com/2017/01/prosecuting-attorney-tries-to-wiggle.html