For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Todd Dvorak
(208) 334-4112

Date: June 22, 2015

E. Idaho Sheriff Convicted for Misuse of Public Funds Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says the former Jefferson County Sheriff who was convicted of misusing public funds has been ordered to spend 30 days in jail, pay a $2,500 fine and serve three years of probation.

The sentence was handed down Monday in the public corruption case of Blair Olsen, who was convicted by a jury on May 14th of three felony counts of misusing public funds. The conviction disqualified Olsen from holding office. Days after his conviction, Olsen was replaced as sheriff.

After an investigation by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Unit, Olsen was indicted in January by a Jefferson County Grand Jury on three felony counts. Specifically, Olsen was charged for using county funds to pay for his wife’s cell phone from 2010 through 2012. Investigators charged Olsen with misusing more than $1,000 during the three-year period.

“Public corruption cases are serious for the simple fact that the offender holds a position of public trust and authority, and then takes advantage of that position,” Wasden said. “This remains true if the crime results in the loss of even the smallest amount of public funds.”

“But the real loss in these cases is to the erosion of trust and faith citizens have in their government. Tackling public corruption is essential to restoring that trust and faith citizens must have in their government and those elected to lead it,” Wasden said.

Olsen was convicted by a jury in Twin Falls County. Olsen asked the judge to move the case from Jefferson County, citing concerns about receiving a fair trial due to significant pretrial publicity.

The judge sentenced Olsen to 30 days in jail on each of the first two counts and 15 days on count three. The jail time will run concurrently. Olsen was also ordered to pay $1,023 in restitution.

Olsen was taken into custody after the hearing and will begin serving his jail sentence immediately. Moller also included a provision that allows Olsen to be released from jail after 15 days and gives him 60 days to complete 120 hours of community service.

The Attorney General investigated the case at the request of the Jefferson County Commission and Jefferson County Prosecutor Robin Dunn. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Jason Spillman and Brenda Bauges (BAH-guess).

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