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Tombstone audit shows Chamber of Commerce fraudulent spending

Tombstone’s Marshal gave the state’s Attorney General’s office his investigation of the audit that pointed to possible fraudulent spending practices by the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce.

Marshal Billy Cloud told the City Council on Tuesday night that the attorney general would decide on the next step.

“If they choose to move forward on issues involving this, it’s going to be completely up to them,” Cloud said.

He also said that the audit, completed by the accounting firm Heinfeld, Meech and Co., showed signs of criminal wrongdoing.

“There were 16 main points in the audit and without a doubt, each of them could be listed as a charge, a criminal offense,” Cloud said. “Everybody that’s chargeable is the entire mayor and council, the entire Chamber of Commerce at the time that these events occurred because the lack of accountability and the lack of oversight.”

Even though there was possible criminal activity, the Office of the Arizona Attorney General may decide to not charge anyone.

“The test they use to determine whether it’s prosecutable or not is personal gain,” Cloud said. “On all 16 items that may have shown personal gain, restitution was offered, and that’s what the attorney general says was met.”

Additionally, new charges could come from any additional information as it is given to the Office of the Arizona Attorney General.

Councilman Randy Davis said he has concerns about the audit and what actions will be taken.

“I believe there’s criminal activity involved,” he said. “I’m retired LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department), after that I did 25 years of fraud investigation. I see criminal activity. I’m resistant to letting the small town make decisions on it. If the activity is there, it deserves to go to court, judge and jury.”

Cloud said there have been positive changes since the audit.

“The upside that came out of this was the chamber took every one of these recommendations from Heinfeld and Meech and it has brought transparency of monies that they are entrusted with,” he said.

He also said that the Chamber of Commerce and the City Council have been working much more closely.

A representative from the Office of the Arizona Attorney General could not be reached by press time.

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