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Sheriff, Board at Odds Over Asset Forfeiture Accounts

12 November 2019 Shenandoah County News

November 12, 2019

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter attended the latest Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss the asset forfeiture policies of his department. Carter and the Board of Supervisors ended up at odds over monies that came into the hands of the Sheriff’s Office after a federal investigation that took place in Shenandoah.

Prior to any questioning, Chairman Conrad Helsley gave a brief statement clarifying the Board’s position regarding the line of questioning ahead. He explained the Board was trying to seek clarification, but not interrupt the work of the Sheriff’s Office.

“The questions are not meant to suggest [impropriety] at all, but simply an effort to understand our collective liabilities as a county and as board members,” Helsley said. “So we think these are very high-level questions that will not impact any individual in the Sheriff’s Department or any investigation.”

Carter believed otherwise after 15 minutes of questions from the Board of Supervisors. At first, the two sides came to an agreement about being more transparent with each other in the future. Shortly after that, Carter became defensive following comments from Helsley and other members about accountability and questions about how some assets were attained.

The questioning surrounded $3.4 million that previously sat in eight bank accounts, set up by the County Treasurer, and operated by the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office at the behest of federal investigators. Carter repeatedly told the Board of Supervisors that investigators and the United States Attorney’s Office asked them to operate the accounts like that. Chairman Helsley was trying to get a clear answer as to why that money remained in those accounts for so long before being turned over to the county, and Sheriff Carter stated several times that he wouldn’t discuss the undercover operational details.

Sheriff Carter claimed he didn’t take offense from the Board’s comments, but his ire was mostly directed at Chairman Helsley for questioning the Office’s operations both during the meeting and in past encounters.


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