Albany County Sheriff’s Department employee charged with embezzlement

CLARKSVILLE – Inside the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, John Cox has been the go-to guy, the main man in the business office for about a decade.

“He was our head budget analyst, our head accountant. He ran our business office,” said Sheriff Craig Apple Tuesday afternoon at a news conference. “Needless to say, he has betrayed every bit of trust that I had in him.”

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After $68,000 was determined to be missing, Apple emphasizes “betrayal” might be an understatement.

“I’m sure the money was probably gambled,” Apple stated. “That’s not my problem. We want the money back, every penny back.”

County and federal auditors began combing through department financial records months ago. At first, they were unable to locate a newly purchased vehicle valued at $18,600.

“Needless to say, we continued because it’s awfully hard to believe that this person woke up one morning and just decided to take this one check,” Apple surmised. “As we continued to dig, we noticed several other checks taken.”

Apple says six stolen checks turned up with his forged signature on them, all of them winding up in the personal bank account of John Cox.

“Sadly, he would even scrutinize some of the transactions to make sure things fit within,” Apple said. “It’s just unfortunate that we never saw this coming. No one’s to blame but myself.”

Apple insists there are measures in place designed to prevent embezzlement schemes, but those safeguards were circumvented, he believes, because the main man in charge of overseeing them wasn’t able to deal with his own demons.

“I’m kind of shocked that some of the financial institutions that received the checks weren’t a little more cognizant in terms of being aware,” Apple wondered aloud. “It’s done, and we’ve got steps in place to prevent it, and now we want our damn money back.”

Cox was free on recognizance Tuesday night, scheduled to face a judge at a later date on grand larceny and forgery charges.