An elected official in Cass County was recently charged with receiving stolen property as the result of an investigation led by the state attorney general’s office.
Melody A. Folsom, public administrator in Cass County, was charged May 5. Court records indicate Folsom, of Harrisonville, pleaded not guilty through her attorney.
Folsom declined to comment on the case.
The charge, a felony, was filed by Assistant Missouri Attorney General Scott T. Sergent. The state attorney general’s office did not return a phone call and email seeking comment by Monday afternoon.
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The case was turned over from the county to the state attorney general’s office early last year.
Folsom serves as a public administrator, a position within the county that acts as the court-appointed guardian and conservator for minors or people with disabilities. Folsom was re-elected for a third term last August with nearly 70 percent of the vote in a two-way race for public administrator.
In a probable cause statement signed by Sgt. Christopher Scott of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, authorities stated Folsom ordered a subordinate to falsify a purchase order on or around Nov. 25, 2015, representing that she was entitled to a reimbursement in order to obtain $725 from the Cass County Treasurer’s Office.
Court records said that by Dec. 10, 2015, the treasurer issued a check payable to Folsom for $725 in reliance of the allegedly false purchase order. Authorities said Folsom was “not entitled to the reimbursement.”
Scott said he interviewed Folsom on March 29, 2016, about the alleged incident. Authorities said Folsom told them her office budget reimbursed her for cleaning out an estate in March 2014. Records also said Folsom told authorities she had not created an invoice for the work, and deposited the $725 check into her personal account.
Scott wrote that Folsom indicated she would be willing to pay back the $725.
According to the records, Cass County Auditor Ryan Wescoat contacted authorities on the same day they interviewed Folsom and said Folsom had provided a personal check for $725 to the Cass County Treasurer’s Office.
As part of the investigation into Folsom, Wescoat said his office was asked to provide records to investigators and was cooperating with the state attorney general’s office.
Wescoat also said his office conducted an audit last year of Folsom’s office independent of the attorney general’s investigation. The findings of that audit have not yet been released to the public.
Authorities also interviewed Garett Houghton, whom documents identified as Folsom’s subordinate.
Houghton was a deputy public administrator before he resigned last year.
The former employee allegedly told authorities he was paid $400 to clean a house in March 2014 and said an invoice was not created for the work. Houghton told police that Folsom had him write a purchase order in November 2015 “to pay her back.”
“Aaah, well Melody had told me to write the PO (purchase order) to pay her back. So that’s what I did, cause I work here,” Houghton told Scott, according to the probable cause statement. “I mean she told me to do something and I did it.”
A spokesman for the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said Folsom was taken into custody and released May 11 after posting bond.
An arraignment in the case is scheduled June 29 in Cass County Circuit Court.