An alleged fraudulent document sent to the wrong office printer led to the firing of and criminal charges against a Wyandotte County sheriff’s deputy, officials said Friday.
Jay Pennington, 38, was arrested and fired Thursday afternoon after an investigation of several weeks, Wyandotte County Sheriff Don Ash said Friday.
Pennington was charged Thursday in Wyandotte County District Court with official misconduct, making false information, computer crime and forgery.
The charges are all felonies, and officials said the investigation is ongoing.
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Ash said that Pennington was team leader for the Offender Registration Unit. Part of his duties included accepting payments from offenders required to register under Kansas law and issuing receipts to them. That money is supposed to go to the sheriff’s department to defray the costs of overseeing the process and ensuring offenders are properly registered.
Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said Friday that earlier in June, one of the receipts was sent to a printer in a different sheriff’s department unit. Supervisors in that unit became suspicious, and an internal investigation was started.
The sheriff’s office notified the district attorney’s office, and the joint investigation led to the charges against Pennington. Ash said that other employees in the Offender Registration Unit also were investigated and have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
In Kansas, certain convicted offenders are required to register with the sheriff in the county where they live. There are 1,200 to 1,300 in Wyandotte County, Ash said.
They are required to pay a $20 fee each time they renew their registration.
But in the charges filed against Pennington, Dupree said, “We are alleging money never made it to where it was supposed to go.”
Pennington had been in the position since January 2016, according to Ash, and both Ash and Dupree said investigators are still attempting to determine how much money was allegedly misappropriated and how long the alleged activity had been going on.
It is not known from available court records if Pennington has hired a lawyer. He was released from custody after posting a $20,000 bond.