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Plea deal includes no jail time for clerk


A former Mosquito District 2 clerk pled guilty to one count of first-degree theft in Grant County Superior Court Monday.

A second count of first-degree theft, relating to an alleged misappropriation of funds of just over $129,000, was dismissed under the plea agreement.

Under the agreement, Karyn Byam, 41, of Electric City, is to pay $800 in court costs, with restitution to be determined at a special hearing within 180 days. There was no confinement time under the agreement.

Byam pled guilty to the first-degree theft charge which had to do with four computers that were purchased, with only one returned to Grant County Mosquito District 2.

Byam said, “No, thank you” Tuesday when asked if she wanted to comment.

A state audit of the Mosquito District, for the years 2010-2014, found that Byam wrote extra checks to herself in the amount of $129,834 over that period. She had been a clerk for the Mosquito District for over 20 years. Those four years were the only years of the audit. She resigned her position March 4, 2016 after being questioned by the investigative unit of the State Auditor’s Office.

The investigation was turned over to the Grand Coulee Police Department with Chief John Tufts submitting his month-long report to Grant County Prosecutor Garth Dano.

The police report stated that Byam had issued herself 20 payments of her monthly salary of $1,100 and an additional 20 payments of $755 for extra work from January through November 2012. This pattern continued somewhat into 2013, the police investigation revealed.

The investigation showed that Byam’s budgeted salary for 2014 was $14,000, but she drew 20 checks totaling take-home pay of $59,110.54. The mosquito board had authorized some additional pay for doing work digitizing records.

Auditors had noted that according to board minutes, Byam’s pay should have been for 20 hours per month, and that district policy required two signatures on checks, yet Byam was allowed to sign checks using only her signature.

Byam was charged on the two theft issues on Dec. 17, 2016, and had several court postponements leading up to Monday’s court appearance.

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