Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | 3 p.m.
Nye County District Attorney Robert Beckett was arrested Wednesday after police say he was using money from a bad check program to help fund programs that benefited family members. Authorities said the funds also went to individuals to help with financial problems.
Beckett was booked into the Nye County Detention Center on charges of malfeasance of office, embezzlement, 20 counts of fraudulent appropriation of property and 20 counts of misconduct of a public officer. Bail was set at $207,500.
Authorities said an investigation began after the Nye County Sheriff’s Office was approached by Nye County Treasurer Gary Budahl, who asked for help in auditing the district attorney’s Bad Check Program bank account because Becket allegedly wouldn't comply.
The program contains funds recovered from bad checks. It is run through the district attorney’s office, and Beckett had control of where to distribute the funds, police said.
Officers obtained a search warrant and examined the Bad Check Program bank account. Financial records were seized during the search, police said.
The records revealed that Beckett had made numerous donations to organizations throughout the community from this account, authorities said. Some of the donations helped school and community programs that Beckett's family members were participants in, police said.
Police said Beckett also made payments to people to help them with personal financial problems. He also allegedly paid off a loan for someone using funds in the account, authorities said.
Nye County sheriff's spokesman David Boruchowitz said it unknown how much money is in question, but he had been doing this for several years. An audit is still being conducted of the account, he said.
According to Nevada law, Beckett is only allowed to disperse funds from the account to help defray costs of a program or to help crime victims, police said.
Beckett has served as the Nye County district attorney for 15 years.