The City of Lehi has confirmed they have terminated a supervisor amid a fraud investigation, and according to court documents it has to do with the possible embezzlement of city funds.
According to the warrant, more than $800,000 supposedly went toward snow removal and road supplies, but Utah County Sheriff’s Office detectives think the city never received the deliveries.
People who live down the road from the Lehi Public Works building on 300 West drive by the complex of red buildings and garages every day, without much thought.
“I see it, I don't really think about it all that much,” neighbor Beccah Gerber said.
There’s a lot of reason to think about it now after she heard what is alleged to have been happening there.
“It's just really frustrating to know that that amount of money can just be gone, and people aren't even aware of it,” she said.
The official amount is $791,582.20, according to a warrant filed in Utah’s Fourth District Court by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
At the same time, a Lehi spokesperson confirmed Streets Superintendent Wade Allred was no longer employed by the city as of October 1.
A city employee was terminated due to alleged fraud, the city explained in a statement.
“We can confirm that we are actively participating in an investigation of a former employee regarding these claims,” the statement said.
According to the warrant, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office was notified after an employee noticed a work order didn’t match work performed.
"There were orders made for road salting sand and other road-related aggregate ordered from Vinco Enterprises,” the warrant states. “[The employee] found this to be concerning since the City contracted their road work through Geneva Rock.”
The warrant stated that all purchases went through Allred.
In an interview with detectives, Allred said, "he used Vinco to deliver sand for salting the roads, road salt and other aggregate for buildings and roadways."
Another city employee told detectives they use a different company for trucking in salt, the warrant stated.
When detectives showed the work orders to multiple employees throughout the public works department, the warrant described how no one had heard of Vinco Enterprises, and didn’t recognize the invoices.
The warrant outlines how detectives went to the person who is in charge of taking deliveries.
"He told me that he didn’t believe that any of the salt loads had been delivered," the detective wrote in the warrant.
Geneva Rock told investigators that they don’t use Vinco, either, and hadn’t heard of the company.
Detectives wrote that they showed a Geneva Rock superintendent “the invoices from Vinco that showed to be delivered to his job sites. [The superintendent] told me that would not have happened because they use their own road base. He told me that the amount shown (900 tons) would have been way more than the job would have even been required.”
Investigators learned that "Vinco is located in Cedar City Utah and that it is owned by Wade Allred’s cousin."
That cousin, according to the warrant, couldn’t provide proof the loads were delivered. He told detectives a subcontractor he paid in cash took the deliveries, but the warrant states the cousin couldn’t provide any evidence that he had communicated with a subcontractor.
Fox 13 showed up to Allred’s house Wednesday evening and was told he could not make a comment.
Fox 13 also attempted to reach out to Vinco Enterprises, but did not hear back.
For city taxpayers like Gerber, there’s a lot of questions.
“You don't know if that money is going to come back, or where it went, or even who took it,” she said.
At the very least, she hopes: “They'll be a lot more conscientious about following the money this winter.”
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t make any comment other than to say they have not filed charges and that the investigation is ongoing but may wrap up in two to three weeks. At that point, the county attorney will screen the case for potential charges.
The City of Lehi declined to interview, and released this statement:
“An article was published today stating that a city employee has been terminated due to alleged fraud. We can confirm that we are actively participating in an investigation of a former employee regarding these claims. Currently, no charges have been filed.
Lehi City continues to take seriously the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Due to the nature of the investigation, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”