The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges today against Springdale Town Manager Richard Wixom and Springdale Police Chief Kurt Wright for the way they handled traffic fines from foreign tourists. Wixom and Wright were each charged with one third-degree felony count of “failure to keep and pay over public money.”
The Attorney General’s Office began an investigation after getting a referral from the Office of State Auditor. According to court documents, several current and former Springdale police officers were told to collect cash bail from foreign motorists during traffic stops and then town personnel were instructed to deposit the money into the town account. The law requires the funds to go to the Hurricane Justice Court and is then allocated to state and local entities.
Court papers also state the Springdale treasurer received the cash fines from July 2006 until October 2011. Records show $33,158 was collected this way from February 2009 and October 2011.
The case was investigated by A.G. Special Agent Aaron Jones and is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jessica Smith. Bail has been set at $5,000 each. All defendants are presumed to be innocent unless they are found guilty in a court of law.