Prosecutor Asks State To Probe Chowan County Finances

A prosecutor has asked state investigators to look into the budget problems in a northeastern North Carolina county for possible criminal misconduct.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported Wednesday that District Attorney Frank Parrish said he asked for help from the State Bureau of Investigation's Financial Crimes Unit.

Chowan County's reserves dropped in recent years from more than $20 million to $3.4 million in June of last year. The commission says the reserve had dropped to $723,000 by June 30 of this year.

Retired county manager Cliff Copeland said the reserve funds were borrowed internally and are still on the county's books as assets.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

What happened to $20 million in Chowan County's reserve account? No one knows right now, and that's prompting a criminal investigation.

In the county seat of Edenton Monday night, the Chowan County Board of Commissioners gave the board's attorney the green light to look for evidence of a crime. That's according to the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk.

Last week it was reported that more than $20 million in reserve funds are gone but only one instance was documented of money being taken from the accounts.

The paper says Chowan County Manager Peter Rascoe said Monday night that the county does not have the money to pay its bills, leaving it $262,000 in debt. Chowan County commissioners plan to
consider four ways to deal with the county's $4.1 million budget

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