Mayor, police chief and other city officials of Iowa town arrested over embezzlement, fraud schemes

JON HAWORTH-Sun, February 14, 2021, 8:32 AM

The mayor, police chief, city clerk and a former city clerk of a town in Iowa have all been charged following a multi-year investigation that accuses them of misappropriating city funds, producing fraudulent public records, using a TASER on a civilian in exchange for cash and concealing embezzlement.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed charges on Feb. 11, against the current and former public officials of the city of Armstrong, Iowa, located in Emmet County close to the Minnesota border, according to a statement released by the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office.

“Mayor Greg Buum, police chief Craig Merrill, city clerk Tracie Lang, and former city clerk Connie Thackery were charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in a 21-count joint trial information approved by the Emmet County District Court,” said Emmet County Sheriff’s office.

Buum, Merrill and Thackery face a top count of ongoing criminal conduct – a Class B felony – while Lang faces a top count of fraudulent practice in the first degree – a Class C felony.

“The investigation uncovered wrongdoing committed by the defendants, including but not limited to misappropriation of city funds, the presentation of fraudulent public records, deploying a TASER against a civilian in exchange for cash, and falsification of ledgers to conceal embezzlement,” Emmet County Sheriff’s Office said.

Following a special investigation by the Auditor of State’s Office, three of the four suspects were subsequently arrested on Feb. 12 with assistance from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

More arrests may be pending related to this case, according to Emmet County Sheriff’s Office, who said the charges filed against the suspects stemmed from a “multi-year investigation” but they did not disclose who else they had been investigating or confirm if these potential arrests would occur.

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