One million in your tax dollars used to buy drugs

FRANKLIN COUNTY -- KEPR is learning more about the possible one million dollars stolen from Franklin County by a worker in charge of finance. As we first learned last week, 65-year old Dennis Huston told police he wrote checks to himself with your money -- partly to fuel a drug addiction.

This wasn't Dennis Huston's first time ripping off tax payers... Or his first time getting caught. After stealing $140,000 of tax payer money in Montana, Hustin was released from his parole in 1991. I'm trying to figure out how in that same year, he got another government job here in FC.

I couldn't get access to his employee records because they were seized as part of the investigation. But I filed a public records request to get those when they're available. The big question is what happened back in 1991 in the vetting process before his hire. Those currently in charge can't answer that.

"I understand there might have been some criminal history prior to his coming here. I can tell you moving forward a big emphasis for the county will be to update policies."

Another policy that needs some updating is the schedule for audits. Right now, Franklin County Departments can go years without being audited. It took an outside company double-checking their own records to bring this issue to the county's attention.

KEPR asked, "How does something like this go unnoticed?"

The auditor replies, "Ya know, I wasn't here for the length of time this was going on."

Auditor Matt Beaton blames part of the problem on the dated software being used by Franklin County. it's a DOS program from 1983. He's been trying to get that updated since before this was discovered. He admitted to his crimes in an interview with police last week, claiming he was fueling a cocaine habit.

Peck tells KEPR, "Whether someone has a drug addiction or some financial need, that doesn't justify stealing from taxpayers."

And it's even more disturbing to learn taxpayers may have been burned twice by the same man. Earlier today, we also posted documents online which showed Huston received a four year prison sentence and was ordered to pay back more than $100,000 that he stole.

That paperwork shows he made payments in 150-dollar increments through 2002, but then they stop. The U.S Attorney's Office says this is an old case for them and couldn't immediately explain why that is. We are will keep working to get you those answers -- along with more details on how the money was stolen from the U-S Government in the first place.