Former City Clerk pleads guilty to Theft in First Deg.

Howard County Attorney Joe Haskovec announced a pre-trial conference was held on October 24 and Larry Gates, former Lime Springs City Clerk, entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of Theft in the First Degree.

On June 27, 2011, Gates was charged in Howard County District Court with one count of Theft in the First Degree, a Class C felony; one count of Theft in the Second Degree, a Class D felony; one count of Theft in the Third Degree, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and one count of Theft in the Fourth Degree, a Serious Misdemeanor. All of the charges stemmed from Gates’ former employment as Clerk for the City of Lime Springs, Iowa.

At a November 12, 2009 Special Meeting, City Attorney Kevin Schoeberl advised the council to suspend Gates with pay. Gates was ultimately formally removed from office on August 3, 2010, when he was no longer on the payroll. He was Lime Springs City Clerk since 1997.

Hacker-Nelson was retained for the initial auditing of the books in November 2009.

The specific charges are as follows:

Count 1—Theft in the First Degree (punishable by up to 10 years in prison)—The Defendant, beginning on or about the sixth day of July 2006 and continuing through the 21st day of May 2009, in Howard County did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of utility payments; the dollar amount exceeding $10,000.

Count 2—Theft in the Second Degree (punishable by up to five years in prison)—The Defendant, beginning in January 2006 and continuing on and through December 2008, in Howard County, did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of unauthorized salary; the dollar amount exceeding $5,000.

Count 3—Theft in the Fourth Degree (punishable by up to one year in jail)—The Defendant, beginning on or about the 28th day of April 2008, in Howard County, did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of unsubstantiated reimbursement claim; the dollar amount exceeding $200.

Count 4—Theft in the Third Degree (punishable by up to two years in prison)—The Defendant, beginning on or about the first day of October 2008, in Howard County, did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of unsubstantiated reimbursement claim; the dollar amount exceeding $500.

The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department and the Howard County Attorney’s office participated in the investigation.

His sentencing has been set for Wednesday, January 18, 2012. At that time, Haskovec says Counts 2-4 will also be addressed and restitution will be determined.

 

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