Watchdog: Follow the Money

Former Idaho commissioner facing charges

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Associated Press,Watchdog Blog,Idaho,Follow the Money

SHOSHONE, Idaho — A former Lincoln County commissioner and secretary for the Shoshone City and Rural Fire Protection District is accused of stealing money meant for the fire department.

The Times-News reports in a story on Friday that Jay Loesche, 50, is charged with two counts of felony grand theft and felony insurance fraud.

Court documents say Loesche was charged in January in 5th District Court. His next court appearance is set for March 14.

Authorities said he transferred money from the fire department's account to his own bank account, including $1,700 for repairs to his own truck. Loesche made a false insurance claim for the truck's damages, investigators added.

The Lincoln County fire commissioners requested the investigation. They told police that in 2003, the Shoshone fire department started raising money for a new fire station north of Shoshone. Work on the fire station started in 2005, but the savings account for the money stayed open.

Two fire commissioners in April 2010 resigned and were replaced. Commissioners told police that a reconciliation of the fire department's books, required by law, hadn't been done for several years.

In June 2010, the commissioners stopped all spending on the fire-station fundraising account and requested financial information on the account.

Then in July 2012, police received a search warrant for the account at Pioneer Federal Credit Union, and compared it to the bookkeeping account Loesche had.

Police said they found six withdrawals of more than $3,000 made by Loesche.

Loesche told police that a check for $1,700 was to repair his truck damaged by a fire department employee while on duty. He told investigators he didn't remember who damaged the truck.

On an insurance claim form made in November 2009, Loesche said the truck was damaged when the hitch broke while he was towing a trailer.

Loesche's co-worker at Wood River Motors told police that Loesche told him the truck was damaged when he had his trailer hooked up and forgot to lower the tailgate before pulling away.

On another check, Loesche told investigators that it was for parts for maintenance at the fire station, but police said he didn't have receipts.

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