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Auditor General's Report Reveals Pinal County Officials Misused RICO Funds

A report from the Arizona Auditor General’s Office reveals former Pinal County officials misused anti-racketeering money, or RICO funds.

Investigators looked at a time period from January of 2013 to December of 2016. They found that county officials did not follow established policies for the use of RICO funds.

The Auditor General’s report says the former Pinal County Attorney could not provide applications or written proposals for groups that received the money.

Former Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and other Sheriff’s Office employees are accused of directing money to groups they were affiliated with and not disclosing potential conflicts of interest.

Current Sheriff Mark Lamb says when he took office in 2017 he made changes to the way RICO funds are used. "We worked on getting a committee set up so that we could actually have a group of non-biased people review all RICO requests,” taking him out of the process, Lamb said.

The Auditor General’s office referred the report to the state Attorney General’s office for review.

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.