MOUNT VERNON — According to Holly Hollingsworth, spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the investigation into Knox County Sheriff David Barber’s use of a Law Enforcement Trust Fund is on its way to a grand jury.
With Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher out of the office today, staff could not comment on when special prosecutor Paul L. Scarsella is scheduled to meet with the grand jury.
The investigation officially opened July 1, 2008, to look into Barber’s use of $1,041.67 from the LETF for 2004 campaign expenses. The money was paid back into the account a month later.
Use of funds is limited to restrictions set by the Ohio Revised Code and Barber’s internal control policy. Campaign expenses are not an allowable transaction, according to the ORC.
Barber was cleared of any mishandling of campaign finance reports. Depending on the findings of the LETF investigation, Barber could be facing theft in office charges.
According to the Ohio Revised Code 2931.41(A)(2), “No public official shall commit any theft offense ... when the property or service involved is owned by the state, any other state, the United States, a county, a municipal corporation, a township or any political subdivision, department, or agency of any of them, is owned by a political party, or is part of a political campaign fund.”
Theft in office is a fifth-degree felony; however, if the amount is greater than $500 but less than $5,000, it kicks the charge up to a fourth-degree felony.