Local News

Ex-Cumberland deputy indicted on fraud charges

Posted December 16, 2009 9:50 a.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2009 3:44 p.m. EST

— A Cumberland County grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former deputy on dozens of fraud charges.

Neelis Smith, who was fired from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office in March 2008, was indicted on 60 counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler fired Smith and LaRue Windham for falsifying time sheets. The deputies billed outside vendors for security jobs they claimed to have worked, although they were on the clock for the sheriff's office at the time, authorities said.

The allegations of double-dipping prompted Butler to order a department-wide audit to check for any abuse of off-duty jobs.

The department's internal auditor reviewed more than 5,000 time sheets with 69,000 entries, covering the activities of 192 deputies from January 2007 to February 2008.

The records of four deputies were turned over to prosecutors, but no criminal charges were filed.