Former Summit County victim advocate charged with misuse of public funds | ParkRecord.com

Former Summit County victim advocate charged with misuse of public funds

Former Summit County victim advocate Marsha Lynne Probst is facing a felony charge after the Utah Attorney General’s Office says she misused public money by personally accepting charitable donations on behalf of the county’s victim assistance program.

The Attorney General’s Office filed the charge Thursday in Summit County's 3rd District Court. Probst faces one count of misusing public money, a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

As a victim advocate, Probst worked closely with crime victims and their families for nearly 11 years as their offenders went through the criminal justice system. She resigned in October, prior to the investigation of the Attorney General’s Office.

Charging documents state Probst regularly received donations on behalf of the county from Wasatch Womenade, a Park City organization that provides financial assistance to local women and children in need. Rather than depositing the money into county accounts, Probst allegedly established an account with the Utah Community Credit Union in 2012 and acted as the sole signer. Prosecutors say the account was unknown to county employees, violating a county policy that requires the Summit County Treasurer's Office to oversee financial accounts with public money.

Charges state that Probst made personal purchases and expenditures using some of the funds without keeping a record of the transactions. Prosecutors allege the total amount of donations Probst deposited into the bank exceeds $5,000.

Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said the investigation was sparked when, after Probst resigned, her successor received a check from Wasatch Womenade. Olson said she was unaware that Wasatch Womenade had made donations in the past, causing her to examine the situation further. 

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"After looking into it, I referred the matter to the Attorney General's Office for investigation to avoid any conflict of interest," she said. "Then subsequent to Probst's departure, protocols were reviewed and emphasized in order to prevent such circumstances from happening in the future."

An initial court date for Probst had not been set.