Former city employee pleads guilty to attempted misuse of public money

Stock photo | St. George News

CEDAR CITY – A former Cedar City employee pleaded guilty Wednesday to two class A misdemeanors on the promise he would pay nearly $29,000 in restitution.

Byron Linford, 50, pleaded guilty to attempted misuse of public money and attempted forgery, both class A misdemeanors.

Linford was originally charged with a second-degree felony for misuse of public monies. However, the state reduced the one charge and added the second with the guarantee that Linford would pay $28,970.65 in restitution prior to his sentencing in February. The terms were part of a plea agreement that included bench probation and 30 days in jail, his attorney, Jack Burns, said.

The former Cedar City events coordinator will also be required to write a letter of apology to his previous employer, Burns added.

Linford is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 22. His attorney said full restitution claimed by the city will have been paid before that time.

“Both Byron and I are pleased to see some closure finally come to this case,” Burns said.

Burns said he did not want to comment further pending his client’s sentencing.

Cedar City News contacted city officials for comment, however, City Manager Paul Bittmenn declined making a statement prior to sentencing.

Linford resigned from Cedar City in 2015. At the time, there were allegations of an extra-marital affair and questions regarding his spending habits while traveling as a city representative.

According to the charging documents, the defendant had a city credit card for expenses incurred while traveling as an employee to recruit events and promote Cedar City.

A St. George Police Department investigation revealed several credit card charges reportedly made by Linford between Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 2, 2015. During that time, Linford allegedly spent more than $5,000 of city money for airline tickets and hotel rooms for himself and a girlfriend.

The six-page charging document, prepared by St. George Police Detective Wyatt Miles, states the marital affair was relevant to the case in that it showed the “criminal intent” of the defendant at the time he made said purchases.

St. George Police Department investigated the case due to a conflict of interest from Cedar City Police and surrounding Iron County law enforcement agencies whose officers personally knew Linford.

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Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

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