Former NDOT employee pleads guilty to fraud | NevadaAppeal.com

Former NDOT employee pleads guilty to fraud

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com

A Fallon man and former Nevada Department of Transportation employee pleaded guilty Tuesday in District Court to one felony count of fraud.

Tal Pierre Smith entered the plea to one count of fraudulent appropriation of property and faces one to four years in prison after illegally purchasing items using an NDOT account.

Smith allegedly made repeated illegal purchases and concealed them by altering receipts and other records from January 2010 through December 2013. According to the complaint and declaration of probable cause from the Nevada Attorney General's office, the pattern was discovered when a chain saw was delivered to NDOT's Fallon facility while Smith was on a hunting vacation. NDOT officials discovered the invoice had been altered, and an investigation was ordered.

Attorney General's Investigator Wayne Fazzino said in his declaration that he interviewed Smith, who "admitted using the NDOT purchase card to purchase items that he kept for personal use and/or sold for gambling monies."

"Smith informed me he has a gambling problem and that he used the monies he generated from NDOT purchases to fund his gambling addition," the court document charges.

Fallon police assisting in the investigation generated a list of 76 transactions by Smith at pawnshops and secondhand equipment businesses throughout Fallon, Fernley, Reno, Dayton and Carson City.

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In addition, the records state investigators recovered more than a dozen tools from Smith's property he had kept.

Auditors who went through all the receipts from that credit card say the total amount taken was $250,639.

Smith was originally charged with six felony counts. He will be sentenced Jan. 27, 2015.

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