Statute of limitation expires on former Bannock County public works director investigation

December 22, 2018

Charges won’t be filed against a former Bannock County public works director who was under investigation for alleged misuse of public resources because the statute of limitations has expired, investigators said.

Idaho State Police started investigating Dan Copeland in late 2016 for possible misuse of county funds, property and workers for his own benefit, according to a Dec. 17 press release.

Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog referred the matter to Oneida County Prosecutor Cody Brower to investigate, concerned about a possible conflict of interest since Copeland was still working for the county at the time.

In his press release, Brower said the crime of misuse of public money carries a five-year statute of limitations, and misdemeanors that could have been filed against Copeland have a one-year statute of limitations.

“While it is clear that Copeland did use public resources for his benefit, the majority of Copeland’s use occurred in the years 2009 to 2011 — all of which fell outside of the statute of limitations, even before the investigation began in 2016,” Brower said in the press release. “The state is simply prohibited from proceeding with charges for the same.”

Copeland retired in February 2017 after 11 years of working for the county. ISP announced their investigation against him the following month.

Also in March, the county clerk, Robert Poleki, announced a comprehensive forensic audit to review a $623,000 shortfall in the Bannock County Landfill budget, as well as policy and procedural concerns from within Copeland’s department.

Among the allegations, Copeland was accused of using county equipment and staff to make improvements to his personal property. Copeland denied having been involved in any wrongdoing. He acknowledged a county worker had helped him make improvements to his home, but he said he paid the worker, who did the labor on his own time.

“First, I state unequivocally that I took no action that was knowingly illegal in my post,” Copeland said in a March 2017 written statement. “Second, there has been an investigation. I have fully and completely cooperated with the investigation that has been referenced, and I was interviewed many months ago. I did not in any shape or form embezzle or personally benefit from the budget shortfall figure that is being referenced in media reports.”

Update hourly