A specially appointed assistant attorney general has charged a former Carbon County Animal Shelter director with misusing public monies.
The defendant, 45-year-old Patricia Ann Pierce, appeared in the 7th District Court on July 26 to answer a formal criminal complaint containing 31 separate third degree felony level misuse of public money counts.
Judge Bruce K. Halliday presided on the district court bench at the defendant's initial appearance in the third degree felony case.
Emery County Attorney David Blackwell acted on behalf of the state prosecutor's office and defense counsel John Easton represented Pierce at the last Tuesday's criminal proceeding.
After ascertaining that the defendant understood the nature of the charges contained in the criminal information, the district judge scheduled a Sept. 16 preliminary hearing in the felony level case.
The formal criminal complaint contends that Pierce, while serving as the animal shelter director, unlawfully mishandled public funds on 31 separate occasions during the three-year period extending from November 2001 to October 2004. Citing the alleged basis of all 31 third degree felony offenses, the complaint accuses the defendant of:
Appropriating public monies for personal benefit or to benefit another person without the authority of the law while employed as an individual charged with the receipt, safekeeping, transfer, disbursement of the revenues in question.
Or failing to keep public funds in her possession until disbursed legally under the authority of the law.
Or unlawfully depositing public monies in a bank or with an unauthorized party.
At the Sept. 16 preliminary hearing, the district court will weigh the evidence presented at the proceeding and determine whether the prosecution has established probable cause showing the defendant committed the crimes.
In the event the judge issues a probable cause ruling, the court will bind Pierce over to answer any or all of the 31 third degree misuse of public money counts at felony arraignment in the criminal information.
Pursuant to Utah statute, the maximum penalties imposable in a third degree felony level criminal conviction include a $5,000 fine amount and an indeterminate 0-5-year sentence in the state prison.
This article ncorrectly identified the age of a former animal shelter director charged with misusing public money.
On July 26, 42-year-old Patricia Ann Pierce appeared in the 7th District Court to answer a formal criminal complaint containing 31 separate third degree felony level misuse of public money counts.
The Sun Advocate regrets the inadvertent error.