Mayor, police chief and city clerk of small Iowa town ‘stole public funds, used a TASER on a citizen to get money and forged public records’ in ’embezzlement’ plot lasting years
- Armstrong Mayor Greg Buum, Armstrong Police Chief Craig Merrill, City Clerk Tracie Lang and former City Clerk Connie Thackery were arrested on Thursday
- The group of officials are collectively facing 21 charges after an investigation into financial impropriety allegedly uncovered they committed multiple offenses
- Wrongdoing committed by the defendants is said to include the ‘misappropriation of funds and deploying a taser against a civilian’
- Additional charges leveled against some of the officials include ‘tampering with records and falsifying public documents’
- Armstrong is a small town located in the central north of Iowa; it is home to around 1000 people
The Mayor and Police Chief of a small Iowa town have been arrested alongside two other city officials after an investigation into financial impropriety allegedly revealed that they were embroiled in criminal conduct.
Armstrong Mayor Greg Buum, Armstrong Police Chief Craig Merrill, City Clerk Tracie Lang and former City Clerk Connie Thackery were taken into custody on Thursday.
The group are collectively facing 21 charges, according to KTIV.
Residents of Armstrong – a small community of around 1,000 people located in the north of the state – have been left shocked by the arrests, the local news network reports.
A statement released by Emmett County Sheriff’s Office alleges that wrongdoing committed by the defendants includes the ‘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’.
Armstrong Mayor Greg Buum is one of four city officials charged following an investigation into alleged financial impropriety
City Clerk Tracie Lang (left) and former City Clerk Connie Thackery (right) have also been charged
Back in 2016, Iowa state auditors examined the city of Armstrong’s finances for the previous fiscal year and uncovered a number of discrepancies.
Newsweek reports that the investigation ‘showed $100,650.10 of undeposited utility collections and improper and unsupported disbursements’.
The Emmet County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation subsequently began looking into the issue, whereby they allegedly uncovered offenses committed by each of the officials.
The top count leveled against Buum, Merrill, and Thackery are charges of ongoing criminal conduct.
Meanwhile, the top count leveled against Lang is fraudulent practice in the first degree.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, there are ‘additional counts against some of the defendants for theft, felonious misconduct in office, non-felonious misconduct in office, tampering with records, assault with a dangerous weapon, and falsifying public documents’.
The Emmet County Attorney will not prosecute the case due to a conflict of interest.
The legal proceedings are now being handled by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
Armstrong is a small town located in the central north of Iowa; it is home to around 1000 people