HP Reports: Joe Arpaio's Office Accused Of Misspending Nearly $100 Million PHOENIX — An examination in Arizona's Maricopa County has found that the sheriff's office, widely known for efforts against illegal immigrants, inappropriately spent $99 million from two jail funds over the last eight years to pay for other law enforcement operations – including immigration patrols. The $99 million figure released Wednesday is an update to an estimate made in September by budget officials who said the sheriff's office was believed to have used $60 million and $80 million over four or five years from a jail tax on other purposes.
Since then, officials said they discovered that the sheriff's office had inappropriately spent money from a second jail account. Maricopa County officials also said that Arpaio's office had spent the money on unsuccessful criminal cases brought against two county officials and a judge.
"This is really a disaster for the county," said County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, who along with another colleague faced criminal charges in cases that were investigated by Arpaio's office and eventually dismissed. The findings by county budget officials discussed at a meeting Wednesday were sent to federal prosecutors who were already investigating Arpaio on abuse of power allegations. The sheriff has gained notoriety in part for his special traffic patrols that target (brown) people who are in the country illegally. The sweeps – Arpaio's most visible immigration enforcement tactic – have drawn heavy criticism from civil rights advocates who accused the police agency of racially profiling countless Latinos.
Arpaio has denied the allegations. Arpaio was not at Wednesday's meeting because he was at the scene of an immigration raid at a business. But interim Chief Deputy Sheriff Jerry Sheridan said there was nothing criminal about the mistake, which he blame on an outdated payroll system. He said the system failed to adequately track when jail officers were transferred to regular patrol.
Message to the DOJ: Please move forward quickly and arrest Arpaio and his goons for their crimes and abuses!