Carbon County Emergency Operations Director Jason Llewelyn has been charged with 20 third-degree felony charges of misuse of public funds following an ongoing investigation.
According to investigator Wally Hendricks, the Carbon County Sheriff was notified of questionable services within the emergency operations department. That is when detectives began investigating the matter.
“We found reason to believe that that was the case,” Hendricks said about the alleged misuse of funds. Items were later seized from Llewelyn’s home, county-issued vehicle, and houseboat.
According to Carbon County Attorney Gene Strait, more charges could be filed as the investigation continues. The 20 counts of misuse of public funds only reflect incidents uncovered from July.
“Each of those, they are essentially identical counts,” Strait said. “They reflect different incidents but the same counts. The initial investigation suggested there was some criminal activity from March until the present. It might go earlier than March, we just don’t know.”
Each third-degree felony charge carries the maximum sentence of 0-5 years in the Utah State Prison. Alleged misused funds are steadily increasing as investigators delve deeper into accounting practices of the department.
“We are in the thousands of dollars,” Hendricks explained. “I can tell you that safely.”
Hendricks explained that Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood has ordered complete transparency in the case and a complete list of funds and what they were used for will be released in the future.
“In order to be a true transparent agency that works with the community, the community needs to trust the direction of that agency,” Wood said in a release last week. “There are still many unanswered questions regarding this situation involving Llewelyn and due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, many of these questions cannot be answered at this time.”
Strait said to aid in the transparency of the investigation, the sheriff’s office has requested the assistance of the FBI and their forensic accounting investigators. The assistance of the FBI has not been formerly decided upon but is still being considered.
Hendricks did emphasize that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
“One important thing is that most of the property that was purchased illegitimately will be repurposed and put into county use,” he explained. “There is a positive out of the negative. The items that were purchased can be used for county purposes and they will be.”
Llewelyn, who was conditionally appointed to be represented by public defender David Allred, will appear in Seventh District Court on Tuesday to schedule a preliminary hearing in the matter.