FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp announced a criminal investigation is underway into three employees of the public administrator’s office. They’re accused of stealing from the estates of the dead over the course of at least a few years.
The public administrator’s office now has just one person on the job. Three others were placed on administrative leave last week. Two of them have since resigned as the district attorney’s office investigates possible theft from the estates of dead people.
“It is the most disturbing thing that has happened to me since I’ve been sworn in,” explained Smittcamp. “It is absolutely unacceptable to me as a citizen, as an elected official, and as the district attorney of this county, I am disgusted by this behavior and I will not tolerate it, and I will not allow it to continue.”
The public administrator’s office is responsible for dealing with the belongings of people who pass away and have no family members or other representatives who can take on that job. It officially merged with the district attorney’s office on January first — after the board of supervisors voted to dissolve what was once the coroner public administrator’s office.
“This alleged breach of the public trust had been occurring for a substantial amount of time before the district attorney became the public administrator,” said Smittcamp. “The inquiry began as an internal affairs investigation and has now evolved into a criminal investigation that is being conducted by highly trained and experience personnel from the district attorney’s bureau of investigations.”
Smittcamp says it’s not clear yet how much money and personal property was stolen or how many victims may be affected. But she is certain something must change.
“At this time we are devising plans to work closely with county counsel, the county administrator’s office and board of supervisors to ensure that the public administrator’s office will be restructured in a manner that will ensure this breach of public trust does not reoccur.”
For more information on possible theft from estates of deceased in Fresno County:
|Chowchilla News Day
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