Amherst County's Current Treasurer Saw 'Several Red Flags'
Amherst, VA - Officials have released new details in the case of the former Amherst County treasurer, Evelyn Martin, charged with embezzling public funds and money-laundering.
The current treasurer says he alerted authorities soon after taking office, one he describes as being in total disarray.
Garry Friend says Tuesday's arrest marks the end of an 18-month-long journey. He says he and staffers have been working 12 hours a day, six days a week, but the paperwork and checking accounts just never seemed to add up.
"I was totally surprised," Garry Friend recalled of the first time he walked into the Amherst County Treasurer's Office.
He says important financial documents on Evelyn Martin's desk had never been opened, never been read.
Friend won't say how much, but claims some of the $35 million Martin was responsible for managing every year, was unaccounted for.
"She had total control over everything," Friend explained.
A year and a half later Evelyn Martin, his former political rival, was arrested and released on $2,500 bond.
ABC 13 went to Martin's home looking for comment. An unidentified man in the front yard asked our crew to leave, demanded they give him their video footage, and escorted them back to the news car. He said Martin would have no comment on her recent arrest.
When Friend took over in January 2012, he says they added a book keeper whose sole job is to balance the checking accounts. Then, another set of eyes will make sure those numbers are accurate. He's also added surveillance cameras to the office, just in case.
He also has a daily reminder hanging in his office.
"It's the code of professional ethics," Friend said, of the framed piece of paper.
"It tells you these are the things that we swear to. They hold you accountable for that," he added.