The investigation into accusations of missing money in the Dallas County Sheriff’s office will expand. On Friday the Division of Criminal Investigation announced it’s looking into 780-thousand seized in a traffic stop March 15.
D-C-I Special Agent in Charge John Quinn says once that money was at the Sheriff’s office, there are charges that some of it went missing. That’s what they’re investigating right now, and he says an audit will be done not only on that case but for the records of other cases. It’s the first announcement that the investigation extends beyond that one traffic stop.
Quinn explains that when a deputy pulls over a vehicle within the county’s jurisdiction, they’ll sometimes discover drugs, or large amounts of money. The driver’s asked if it belongs to them and rather than come up with an explanation, some will say it isn’t theirs. That’s what happened in that Dallas County stop, Quinn says: “The occupants of the vehicle…indicated ‘I don’t know whose money that is, it’s not mine, and you can have it.'”
At that point, the sheriff’s office will begin the disclaimer process which involves publishing the seizure and waiting a certain time to claim it. It’s worth the paperwork, since there’s a good chance that local law-enforcement agency will get to keep the money it’s seized. After “all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed,” Quinn says the money’s remitted to the law-enforcement agency that initiated the stop.
The police, sheriff’s or other agency can put that money into its local law-enforcement budget if it’s followed all the rules. Quinn says there isn’t a charge right now that other money’s been taken, but there were other investigative stops in the county in which someone forfeited money, so the D-C-I ‘s going through records to make sure all the money’s there and all the paperwork has been done properly. He says it’ll take some time to process all the evidence.
Quinn says the agency also has some other investigative leads it must follow up on, and it’ll all be compiled into a report and handed over to the Polk County Attorney’s office to decide whether it’ll be appropriate to file charges.