Former Galveston’s department of traffic employees indicted on felony charges www.privateofficer.com
The Daily News obtained the indictments Friday against Michael N. Dricks, former traffic operations supervisor, and former technician William Melvin Letroise.
The city launched an investigation of the traffic operations department earlier this year and in January temporarily placed all 12 traffic division employees on paid administrative leave. Soon thereafter, two employees, including Dricks, resigned.
The Daily News, through an open records request, obtained records revealing Dricks, 58, was paid more than $390,000 during the last four years in overtime in addition to his $48,279 salary. Dricks didn’t meet the requirements to be a salaried employee, records revealed.
Letroise, 41, netted $37,280 in overtime from 2009 to 2011 above his $40,059 salary, according to the city.
On Wednesday, the grand jury indicted Dricks and Letroise each on one count of theft by a public servant and falsifying a government document, an overtime sheet, interim police Chief Henry Porretto said.
An indictment is not a guilty verdict. It means a grand jury heard enough evidence to send the case to trial.
Dricks, a former senior traffic technician, is accused of unlawfully appropriating less than $1,500 from Eric Wilson, the city’s assistant city manager, between Dec. 16 and Jan. 7.
The second indictment against Dricks accuses him of making a false entry in a governmental record, a request for 10 hours of overtime, on Dec. 18.
Letroise, a former traffic signal technician II, was similarly accused of unlawfully appropriating less than $500 from Wilson in the same timetable and of falsifying a government record in requesting three hours of overtime on Dec. 23, the indictments state.
Both charges against Dricks are state jail felonies, police Sgt. Jeremy Kylen, head of the Financial Crimes Unit, said. The falsifying of a government document charge against Letroise also is a state jail felony but the theft by public servant charge is a Class A misdemeanor, Kylen said.
A message left Friday with Dricks wasn’t immediately returned. Sam Finegan, Dricks’ attorney, declined to comment. There was no public phone listing for Letroise, and it is unclear whether he has an attorney.
Bonds would be set at $2,000 on each charge, First Assistant Prosecutor Donna Cameron said.
“The city audit uncovered what might be discrepancies and set up an action plan,” Porretto said. “They followed the plan to confirm their suspicions and they took the appropriate actions.”
The city then referred the case to police for further investigation, and the department submitted its findings to the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, Porretto said.
Authorities would contact Dricks and Letroise to allow them to surrender on warrants after issuance, as it usually takes a couple of days for warrants to be issued from indictments, Kylen said.
Porretto declined further comment.
“We’re limiting public information on the case that has not gone to trial yet,” he said. “We want to be forthcoming, but the case is still under investigation, and we might be checking other leads from other issues.”
Source:Galvaston Daily News