Former sheriff charged with misuse of public money, aiding grand theft

Former Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall is seen here in 2012 in the county jail.
Former Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall is seen here in 2012 in the county jail. Drew Nash

JEROME — The Idaho Attorney General's Office filed charges Tuesday against former Sheriff Doug McFall.

McFall told the Times-News on Friday that he had not been contacted by the Attorney General's Office, but heard about the charges when a Boise television station contacted him.

According to court documents obtained by the Times-News through a public records request, the AG's office claims McFall committed the crimes of aiding and abetting grand theft, a felony; misuse of public moneys, a felony, and petit theft, (two counts) a misdemeanor.

"I'm shocked," County Commissioner Charlie Howell said late Friday afternoon. Howell had heard rumors, but said he hadn't taken them seriously.

McFall turned in a letter of resignation in January, saying he was building a home in Twin Falls County and would be moving. He turned in his badge Wednesday.

Spokesman Scott Graf of the AG’s office confirmed in January that McFall was being investigated, but because the investigation was ongoing, Graf was unable to elaborate.

McFall's charge of aiding and abetting grand theft stems from an incident on Dec. 17, 2016, when he's accused of advising Rick Grimes that if Grimes were to take horses without force, McFall would not arrest him for theft. Grimes then committed the act by taking horses from Sugar Loaf Arena, according to the complaint. McFall did not arrest him.

The misuse of public money charge stems from multiple occasions in 2015, 2016, and 2017 when McFall allegedly used a government credit card for personal use.

Among other uses, he redeemed a Costco Reward Certificate, belonging to Jerome County, for his own use and kept the balance. He also allegedly kept the proceeds of Jerome County's recycled tin and recycled auto parts.

McFall is also accused of using a Jerome County credit card for personal uses, such as fuel for personal trips and an overnight hotel stay for a personal use.

His petit theft charges stem from two occasions when McFall allegedly filed false per diem claims with the county, knowing the claim wasn't true, for a date on which he was scheduled for an official function, but he did not attend.

In May, McFall asked county commissioners for an attorney to represent him in an investigation by the AG’s office. County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Seib denied the request, saying the request was “premature,” according to the meeting’s minutes.

McFall denied any wrongdoing.

“Most of it’s just (untrue),” he told the Times-News in late June. “But it looks poorly on your record.”

The investigation began about the time a former employee with the sheriff’s office was accused of taking money intended for undercover drug buys. Former-Lt. Dan Kennedy pleaded guilty to the charge in September.

“Right after the Kennedy deal, the AG’s office got an anonymous complaint,” McFall told the Times-News in early January.

“They had a bunch of questions for me about my travel for the sheriff’s office. I get calls day and night — I’m in my county vehicle all the time.”

McFall began his career in law enforcement in 1984 with the Idaho State Police. He retired in 2008 and ran for sheriff that fall. McFall was re-elected in 2016 to his third term.

Statesman reporter Ruth Brown contributed to this report.