Former College Finance Director Faces Fraud Charges

Former College Finance Director Faces Fraud Charges

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Sam Penrod reporting Prosecutors today filed 43 felony charges against the former finance director of the Richfield Applied Technology College, accusing him of embezzeling thousands of dollars.

And the state auditor is calling it the biggest case of fraud involving taxpayer dollars in Utah in more than 25 years.

The charges accuse him of stealing school money over a two and a half year period and then trying to cover it up.

Court documents filed in Sixth District Court accuse 48- year old Kimble Blackburn of embezzeling more than $160,000 of school money over the last two and a half years.

Blackburn was the finance director of the Central Applied Technology College in Richfield. He is accused of using an elaborate scheme to steal the money.

Blackburn would allegedly cash checks made payable to the college, then doctor the school's accounting records to hide the theft from auditors. But late last year, state auditors began investigating Blackburn and ultimately discovered widespread improprieties involving the college's finances.

Their report released last month also shows Blackburn charged nearly $30,000 to the school's credit card for luxury hotels and personal expenses that appear to have no business connection.

From that report, the Sevier County Attorney has filed 42 second degree felony counts of Communication Fraud, and one third degree felony of obstructing justice, related to Blackburn's apparent attempt to destroy the paper trail.

The state auditor is also investigating from the late 1980's through the summer of 2000. The prosecutor says these charges could only be the beginning.

Kim Blackburn is scheduled to be arraigned on the 43 felony charges on April 1st.

Blackburn's attorney did not return our calls today to respond to the charges.

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