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Ex-DCFS Employee Accused of Inappropriate Gas Charges

Ex-DCFS Employee Accused of Inappropriate Gas Charges

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A former employee of the state Division of Child and Family Services in eastern Utah has been accused of racking up more than $12,000 in inappropriate state vehicle and gas card charges.

Patricia Cornaby, 61, was charged in Duchesne's 8th District Court Friday with 12 counts of unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary.

Cornaby worked for DCFS for 28 years, most recently as an administrative assistant to the director of the division's Eastern Region. She retired in June, one month after anonymous allegations prompted an internal audit, said Robin Arnold-Williams, executive director of the Department of Human Services.

"Once the allegations were made, the auditors were able to go back and trace through the logs that we require on every state vehicle," Arnold-Williams said.

Arnold-Williams said the auditors uncovered alleged misuse of state funds that dates back to 1998.

"It was clear it was not a single incident. It was clear there was a pattern of behavior and it was a significant amount. It did not happen one time with someone who happened to pull out the wrong credit card," she said.

Cornaby's boss, former director Beverly Jean Hart, stepped down about two months ago to take a position at a lower administrative level in the Western Region. Richard Anderson, division director, said the decision for Hart to leave her former was mutual. It was not immediately known if there was a connection to Cornaby's case.

Arnold-Williams said for an administrative assistant to have use of a fleet vehicle and state gas card is unusual and auditors uncovered no business justification for the accumulated charges.

Cornaby, charged with five third-degree felonies, five class A misdemeanors and two class B misdemeanors, faces an arraignment Nov. 17.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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