Jeff Co. courthouse accused of accounting for missing money improperly

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 30 at 5:49 PM

(KMOV.com) – One thousand dollars goes missing from a Jefferson County courthouse cash drawer, but in lieu of an investigation, documents were altered to minimize discrepancies.

A document obtained by News 4 in a case involving Keith Christopher, Jr., a defendant convicted of drug charges, shows that he paid his court costs in cash. However, the employee who took the money was short by $1,000 at the end of the day. A new receipt was written up to say that Christopher was short by $1,000 and still owed that money, which was signed off by presiding judge Troy Cardona.

“I don’t believe employees are pocketing money,” said Cardona. “But I think a mistake was made in either it being counted or a deception was made in paying it.”

Cardona said he believed in the integrity of the employee and said if she wanted to steal from the drawer, she would not have reported the shortage. He waived the debt of the defendant whom he believed owed $1,000.

“People get incarcerated all the time and jail bills get waived. Otherwise, you’d have people in jail because they can’t pay their jail bill … so we waive costs as judges all the time,” said Cardona.

The father of Christopher said his son counted out the money and the worker counted it also. He is confident his son paid the full amount. But Judge Cardona is standing by the courthouse employee.

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