For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: August 13, 2003

Former Twin Falls County Clerk Enters Guilty Plea

(Boise) - Former Twin Falls County Clerk Robert Fort today entered a plea of guilty to a felony charge of misuse of public funds, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.

On July 15, 2003, the Attorney General filed a complaint in Fifth District Court in Twin Falls County accusing Fort of violating Idaho Code § 18-5701.

The complaint alleges that Fort, "acting in his position as County Clerk and a person charged with the receipt, safe keeping, transfer or disbursement of public moneys, during a period of time from the 23rd day of January, 1998 to the 23rd day of May, 2003, in the County of Twin Falls, State of Idaho, did, without authority of law, appropriate over $60,000, lawful money of the United States or a portion thereof to his own use or to the use of another, a violation of Idaho Code § 18-5701."

Article 7, section 10 of the Idaho Constitution provides that using public money "for any purpose not authorized by law, by any public officer, shall be deemed a felony and shall be punished as provided by law." Idaho's constitution has included this provision since it was adopted in 1890.

Under Idaho law, the maximum penalties for misuse of public funds are: one to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $50,000 and prohibition from holding any office.

Fifth District Judge Monte Carlson accepted Fort's plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 8, 2003.

Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs referred the case to the Attorney General's Criminal Law Division for investigation and prosecution. Deputy Attorney General J. Scott James is prosecuting the case.

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