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Man accused of stealing $32,000 in public funds

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. -- A city employee here faces charges of stealing about $32,000 in public funds. Debra Jo Parkos, 51, of Grand Forks, N.D., is charged in Polk County with eight counts of felony theft and misconduct of a public employee. P...

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. -- A city employee here faces charges of stealing about $32,000 in public funds.

Debra Jo Parkos, 51, of Grand Forks, N.D., is charged in Polk County with eight counts of felony theft and misconduct of a public employee.

Parkos, who worked as a secretary in the city clerk/treasurer office, told a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent that she began stealing money from the city in April 2001, according to a complaint filed by Polk County States Attorney Greg Widseth.

Parkos started working for the city in October 1999. She resigned under suspicion on March 1, according to the complaint.

Part of her job was to make deposits.

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An investigation began after Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Wayne Oberg suspected that money was missing from the city's economic development and housing authority. He found discrepancies on receipts and deposit tickets, the complaint says

An audit revealed that the city is missing about $32,448.

Parkos told a state investigator that she began stealing because of personal money problems, the complaint says.

Each count of felony theft carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

Misconduct of a public employee is punishable by one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.

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