By Conrad Dudderar
A Canadian County judge has found probable cause that a former county official stole from taxpayers.
Troy Steven Mead, 49, was charged in April 2020 with embezzlement of state property in Canadian County District Court.
Mead allegedly committed the felony crime in August 2017 and March 18 while he was Canadian County’s emergency management director.
Prosecutors charged Mead after a Canadian County Sheriff’s Office investigation, accusing him of embezzling grant money and equipment bought with county funds.
Mead appeared Nov. 29 with his attorneys Zack Simmons and Alison Roberts for a preliminary hearing before Canadian County Special Judge Charles Gass.
After hearing witness testimony and reviewing exhibits, Judge Gass found probable cause that Mead committed the embezzlement offense as alleged by Assistant District Attorney Austin T. Murrey.
The defendant was bound over for district court arraignment set 9 a.m. Jan. 24, 2023 before District Judge Paul Hesse.
The preliminary hearing had been continued several times in this case, the last in late September because Mead reportedly had COVID-19.
Mead faces up to 20 years in state prison and a $500 fine if convicted on the felony embezzlement charge.
Canadian County prosecutors believe Mead violated state law “by wrongfully appropriating $1,200 in grant money awarded to Canadian County, a Brother brand printer, a Samsung computer, a Garmin GPS device, a ballistic vest, and other software and equipment purchased with county funds,” according to the charging document.
Mead was Canadian County’s emergency manager from May 2017 until he resigned in March 2018. In this capacity, he was empowered to apply for grants to be used for emergency preparation and response.
Canadian County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Grimes investigated the defendant’s alleged crime.
Total amount embezzled was valued at $2,960.95 – including a $1,200 Walmart grant check, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by Lt. Grimes.
Mead allegedly endorsed the back of the check, “For Deposit Only, Canadian County Emergency Manager Troy Mead,” and deposited the money into his personal bank account.
The grant funds were supposed to be used by the Canadian County Emergency Management Office to purchase new Surface Pro4s and MS Office, updated technology, and personal protective equipment, and to remodel the emergency operations center.
When he resigned his position, Mead allegedly took items valued at $1,760.95 that belonged to Canadian County and converted them for his personal use.
During his investigation, Lt. Grimes learned about the county-owned property that went missing – Notebook computer, color printer, ballistic vest, GPS device and mount, and computer software.
Mead, who formerly lived on Conestoga Drive, has a listed address in Green Valley, Ariz.