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Ex-Coconino County Employee Sentenced for Embezzlement

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Aug. 26, 2008) Attorney General Terry Goddard announced that Helena Jean Yazzie, 49, of Flagstaff, has been given a sentence of 60 days in jail, five years probation and $19,455 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in Coconino County Superior Court on July 25 to one count of theft, a Class 3 felony, and one count of misuse of public money, a Class 4 felony.

Between February 2005 and July 2006, Yazzie was employed by the Coconino County Public Fiduciary’s Office as a Certified Fiduciary Case Manager, responsible for managing the financial affairs of county wards.

An investigation conducted by the Auditor General’s Office determined that during her employment, Yazzie embezzled about $16,000 in public funds and falsified official records. She had money disbursed to her based on her representation that the money would be used for the benefit of county wards assigned to her. She then used the money to buy retail gift cards and money orders for her own benefit.

This Auditor General’s full report can be found at www.azauditor.gov , keyword “Yazzie.” For more information, please contact Megan Erickson at (602) 542-8019.