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Theft investigation continues

February 11, 2013

Detectives with the Bishop Police Department are continuing their investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds from the Inyo County Health and Human Services Department welfare division.
Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter said there have been no new developments in the investigation, but ensured residents that the department is continuing to look into the case.
The PD, in cooperation with the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office served a search warrant for the home of Health and Human Services Supervisor Dondee Rossy, 46, of Bishop, in connection with the case Jan. 25.
Chief Carter said Rossy is a “person of interest” in the case.
An arrest for the possession of a small amount of methamphetamine was made following the execution of the search warrant, but no arrests have been made in connection to the embezzlement case.
As law enforcement continues its investigation, Inyo County Health and Human Services is working to ensure that programs continue to run.
“For those who may rely on these funds for assistance, please be assured that the apparent theft does not interrupt or affect services to our clients in any way,” Health and Human Services Director Jean Turner said in an open letter to Inyo residents last week. “While we understand the public will want answers, which we will provide as information is available and appropriate, we will also be very limited in the information we can share until the investigation is completed.”
Turner said that county staff is initiating a full review of procedures in the Public Assistance program “to see how this could have happened despite the many checks and balances built into the system, at multiple levels, to prevent abuse.”
The alleged theft was reported in mid-January when a Public Assistance employee noticed and reported what Turner called “suspicious entries into the client database.”
“Working closely with investigators and county administration, we took immediate and additional security steps to protect public funds, pending the outcome of the investigation which will determine what happened, how it happened, the identity of the suspect or suspects, and how much money may have been embezzled,” Turner’s letter states. “Early indications are that it may be a substantial amount.”
County counsel Randy Keller said earlier this month that no one who is suspected of being involved in the alleged theft has access to public funds at this time.
Keller would not say if any employees have been terminated or placed on leave in connection with the investigation, as it is against county policy to release personnel information.

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