The former Madison County Deputy Collector was arrested Friday, following a Missouri State Highway Patrol investigation into missing funds from the collector's office.
Kelsey Skaggs-Gresham of Fredericktown has been charged with five felony counts of stealing $750 or more.
According to a MSHP probable cause statement, on November 29, 2018 the patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control Troop E Unit began conducting an investigation at the request of the Madison County Sheriff into a possible theft involving real estate and personal property tax money.
The patrol report said County Collector Debra Boone reported numerous Madison County residents attempted to pay their 2018 taxes but were informed their 2017 taxes had not been paid. In addition, upon reviewing tax records, Boone discovered numerous accounts had been altered and she informed the Madison County Commissioners prior to the Nov. 6 election that approximately $14,000 had gone missing from her office.
According to the patrol report, Skaggs-Gresham was an employee of the Madison County Collector's office and was identified as a possible suspect due to several tax payers with altered accounts indicating they paid their taxes with cash and specifically to Skaggs-Gresham. Several other individuals interviewed said they paid their taxes in cash to a young female, not to Boone.
The report said highway patrol investigators conducted an interview with Boone, Nov. 29, 2018. During the interview, Boone said during the interview that several transactions had been deleted after tax receipts for personal property and real estate taxes had been printed. Boone's statement was confirmed by reviewing the tax collector vendor software.
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The deleted transactions occurred between Aug. 28, 2017 and May 9, 2018, according to the patrol report. In addition, the investigation revealed Skaggs-Gresham, the deputy collector, was the only person working in the collector's office when some of the deleted transactions occurred.
The report also states, the investigators conducted an interview with Skaggs-Gresham, and she denied taking any money. Skaggs-Gresham said she and Debra were the only ones who could alter a tax account in the computer system.
In addition, the report states Skaggs-Gresham's tax account had been altered on two different occasions. Her account was deleted on Dec. 29, 2017 at 8:02 a.m. and again on Feb. 21, 2017 at 8:17 a.m. She said she did not know anything about her account being deleted. Skaggs-Gresham said she worked on both of the days her account was deleted.
According to the report, investigators asked Skaggs-Gresham if the taxes had been paid, and she said they had not. During the interview she was asked how she renewed the registration on her vehicle without having a paid personal property tax receipt. Skaggs-Gresham responded by saying, "I don't know."
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway Monday released a statement Monday following the arrest and charges. In July, Auditor Galloway released an audit completed by the Public Corruption and Fraud Division, detailing how more than $13,000 went missing from the Madison County Collector's Office between January 2017 and October 2018.
"Missourians have zero tolerance for corruption and abuse from those who are in positions of public trust," Galloway's statement said. "Rooting out government corruption and fraud has and will remain a top priority for me. My office will continue to partner with law enforcement to pursue justice for Madison County taxpayers."