Ex-county treasurer pleads guilty to stealing public funds, ordered to repay $35,613

The Kane County Jail is part of the Kane County Public Safety Complex located at 971 E. Kaneplex Drive in Kanab, Utah | Stock image, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — The Office of the Utah Attorney General announced Thursday the guilty plea of a former Kane County Treasurer for charges related to the misuse of public money.

Georgia Baca, of Washington City, Utah | Photo courtesy of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Georgia Baca, 53, of Washington City, appeared before Judge Marvin D. Bagley in Kanab’s 6th Judicial District Court and pleaded guilty to one third-degree felony county of misusing public funds.

A possible prison sentence of up to five years was suspended. Instead, Baca was ordered to serve 30 days in jail and complete 36 months’ probation.

She was also ordered to pay $35,613 in restitution to Kane County.

Baca resigned as Kane County Treasurer in March 2016 after the Utah State Auditor’s Office released a report alleging that Baca had been stealing money for personal use for three years. Baca had held the treasurer’s position since 2006.

Officials said an investigation into the matter was initiated in January 2016 after hearing of a suspicious transaction made by Baca.

The Utah State Auditor’s office examined transactions between Jan. 1, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2016, and found transfers and payments which they deemed “improper and illegal” totaling over $36,000 and a discrepancy of over $56,000 in cash/check deposits which hasn’t been accounted for.

During the state’s audit, Kane County Commission Chairman Dirk Clayson and other Kane County officials were “very cooperative,” Utah State Auditor John Dougall said in a statement issued by the attorney general’s office Thursday.

“This effort was the result of a conscientious individual noticing a suspicious transaction and raising that concern,” Dougall said. “The Office of the State Auditor is actively engaged in holding government officials accountable and rooting out waste, fraud and abuse within government.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he hopes the resolution brings some measure of closure to Kane County residents.

“As an elected official, the defendant held a fiduciary position with the citizens of her county,” Reyes said in the statement. “Sadly, she breached this trust. While it is never pleasant to bring charges against a fellow public servant, when it is necessary we will diligently do our jobs to assist the Court in holding them accountable.”

Utah State Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, is also quoted in the statement saying, “This has been a difficult case, and I am grateful to see justice served for the people of our county.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • utahdiablo May 4, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Aw Heck, it’s only $35 Grand Folks, you didn’t kick about the FLDS stealing $12 Million in welfare funds to only get a $100 fine and a slap on the wrist did ya?

  • voice of reason May 4, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Steal nearly 90 grand and only get 30 days in jail? And people say there’s no such thing as white privilege.

    • chamb123 May 5, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      I am just as upset as you are and think this is a conflict of interest where she worked in the same building as the courts before she got caught. I know this because I am from Kane county. However, I would like to point out that you can not tell what race people are by looking at them so it is not appropriate to judge people by the way they look. For your information, she is Latino.

      • voice of reason May 8, 2017 at 9:47 am

        My apologies for assuming her race. In hindsight, her joke of a sentence seems to be more about community connections than race.

  • St. G May 5, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Zero jail time, and paying back less than what went missing? Judge Marvin D. Bagley, you’re a sweetie.

  • Caveat_Emptor May 5, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This makes you wonder how good their internal accounting controls are, since it took an employee alerting authorities to get the investigation started.
    Totaling $92K, with a modest reimbursement order, it makes you wonder how this sentence is a deterrent to other public servants. We can only guess that this lady is politically connected, or has embarrassing information that would threaten other political figures………

  • ladybugavenger May 5, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Too bad she wasn’t FLDS. If she was, it would have only cost her $100

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