Last Modified: Saturday, September 08, 2012 10:48 PM
A former Allen Parish sheriff’s deputy who used a department credit card to buy $24,300 in gas was charged with theft and malfeasance in office Friday, authorities said.
Patrick Buxton, 43, of Oakdale, allegedly used the card to fraudulently buy 6,949 gallons of gasoline from July 2011 to May 2012.
Buxton, who had been a deputy for more than 10 years, resigned July 3 and is now employed by the Oakdale Police Department, said Sheriff Doug Hebert III.
Hebert said Buxton was using the credit card to fill 55-gallon drums and resell the fuel. Hebert, who became sheriff July 1, said the discrepancies were found during a review of financial records.
“We were going through the transactions and all the bills and noticed several fuel bills which were clearly excessive,” he said. “As we continued to investigate, it became apparent that one particular card had more purchases.”
More than 1,700 gallons of fuel was purchased in one month alone, he said.
“I think at that point the sheriff was going out of office and I hadn’t taken office and there was a lack of control,” Hebert said when asked how the purchases had gone unnoticed for so long.
The Sheriff’s Office is auditing and reviewing past financial records, he said. It has also made changes to its credit cards.
“We have recalled and canceled every card and have issued new cards with individual PIN numbers,” Hebert said.
Better tracking and monitoring procedures have been implemented for use of the cards, he said.
“We have put in a system that will notify us of any unusual purchases or uses so that we can catch any potential problems right off the bat,” he said.
State police began investigating Buxton last month after receiving a complaint from the Sheriff’s Office, according to Sgt. James Anderson.
If he’s convicted as charged, Buxton faces up to 15 years in prison and an $8,000 fine.