The Van Meter police chief is facing charges after a state investigation. Michael Merritt is charged with one count of felonious misconduct in office and insurance fraud, both felonies.
The state began investigating Merritt after the Department of Transportation received a complaint that he may be involved in wrongdoing in the salvage vehicle theft program. Investigators say Merritt was not doing the necessary checks of the law enforcement database for stolen parts required for certified inspections of vehicles, and that Merritt was charging a ten dollar fee for the inspections. He later admitted to keeping the fees.
Investigators say Merritt had claimed workers compensation benefits in the spring of 2009 and did not disclose the income from the inspection fees as was required by the insurance company. Merritt had been placed on administrative leave in March after the investigation began. He turned himself in to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and was taken to the Polk County jail.