Former Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker told the News-Democrat & Leader that he did not steal money from his department during his last year as sheriff, despite issues that were brought up in the most recent state audit.

On Thursday, March 28, the office of State Auditor Mike Harmon released a report and noted some $3,878 taken in by the Sheriffs Department were never deposited into an official sheriff bank account.

Whittaker said that the money was never deposited into his personal accounts.

"I'm no crook," Whittaker said. "I ran that office for over 16 years and never took anything the entire time I was there."

The bulk of the money came from a fundraiser the sheriff's department had through the sale of calendars. According to a press release from the state auditor, Whittaker participated in the sale of calendars during calendar years 2015, 2016, and 2017. The proceeds from the sale of calendars are considered a donation to the sheriff's office and the proceeds were not deposited into any official account of the Logan County Sheriff's office. The former sheriff received $2,060 from Dec. 15, 2015, through Oct. 28, 2017, from the sale of calendars.

Whittaker said that the calendar sales took place over three years and there was no mention of them during the 2015 or 2016 audit.

"They said the funds from the sale of the calendars should have been put into a 'donations' bank account," Whittaker said. "I'd never heard of such a thing. We never had a donations account. And if they had said we needed to do that either of the first two years, we would have started doing it. I don't know why they brought it up after three years."

Whittaker said that the money from the calendar sales was kept separately, in cash, in the sheriff's office and was used for the department's Christmas party each year.

"I used that money to buy Christmas gifts for my employees," Whittaker said. "I bought televisions and tool boxes and things like that. I tried to make sure everyone got something."

Whittaker said that he had no receipts from buying the gifts, however, and that the purchases were made with the cash from the sales.

Additionally, the audit noted that the former sheriff received payment for scrap metal from a local scrap vendor in the amount of $1,087. Included in these proceeds was payment for scrapping vehicles that may have been purchased with the sheriff's drug fund. None of the scrap metal receipts were deposited into any official account of the former Logan County Sheriff.

Whittaker said that any money the department got through the sale of scrap metal was put into the "petty cash" drawer and was used for various things.

"We used that money to buy flowers to send to funerals or to buy food for employees on Thanksgiving - things like that," Whittaker said.

The audit recommended that Whittaker reimburse the $3,878 from a personal fund and said that the finding would be referred to the Office of the Attorney General.

Whittaker said that once the Attorney General rules on the issue, he will comply with whatever he is told; including reimbursing the department for the $3,878, if necessary.

"If they say pay it back, I will," Whittaker said. "But this is not a problem because I took money I wasn't supposed to. It's just a record-keeping error."