Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for May 12, 2010
Former Garfield County School District Business Administrator arrested
Justin Baugh, age 38, formerly of Tropic, Utah, was arrested without incident by Garfield County Sheriff deputies in West Jordan after being charged with three felony counts of Misuse of Public Money, Communications Fraud, and Tampering with a Witness. Misuse of Public Money and Communications Fraud are second degree felonies and the Tampering With a Witness charge is a third degree felony.
Sixth District Court documents filed by the Garfield County Attorney’s office say that the Utah State auditors report found that Baugh had allegedly stolen between $50,000 to $80,000 of school district money while working as Garfield County School District Business Administrator.
The audit found multiple checks that Baugh had written to his wife and to himself; one of which was a check for over $30,000 that he allegedly deposited into his own personal account. The audit further found that Baugh allegedly created generous travel stipends for himself of $12,000 yearly, and wrote large travel expense checks. The charges also allege Baugh asked district employees to shred documents that could implicate him, and to keep quiet about the shredding.
Baugh could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted. He is being held in the Garfield County Jail under $25,000 bail. His first appearance in court will be May 13 in Sixth District Court.
Baugh started his job as Business Administrator with the Garfield County School District in June of 2008. Last May (2009), Baugh resigned to take a job at the Canyons District in Sandy as Assistant Director of Finances. Baugh came under intense media scrutiny in September of 2009, after it was found his contract with Garfield County had provisions in it that allowed him to be paid his salary even if he quit or was fired before his contract expired; to receive health benefits until he and wife turned 65 years old; and his children to receive health benefits until at least age 26; and all this whether he worked in the district or not.
Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins says “This case has been very extensive and time-consuming, and further charges are anticipated in conjunction with this investigation.”