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County Recorder Charged with 19 Felony Counts
6/14/2006 Source of Title   Reprinted with permission

Clark County Recorder Frances Dean accused of 19 felony counts for selling public recordsFrances Deane, the county recorder for Clark County, Nevada was charged with 19 felony counts, including theft and unlawful commissions, misconduct of a public officer, fraudulent appropriation of property, personal profit and compensation of public officers, for allegedly selling 32 years worth of real estate documents.

According to a criminal complaint filed in a Las Vegas court, Deane used the funds to pay her bills and purchase a plasma television. An arrest warrant was issued on June 13, 2006 in her name.

David Roger, the district attorney, was present at Tuesday's hearing and said his office will hold off on arresting Deane until Friday, according to an article in The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Any time a public official uses their powers to violate the trust of the public it's a serious matter," Roger added. "The public is entitled to see that law enforcement officers investigate these matters."

According to a recently released police report, Deane received a minimum of $44,000 from the sale of the county's public record documents and also received a $10,000 campaign contribution for her actions.

Currently on medical leave from the county until August 11 because of an undisclosed surgery, Deane was not in court. But, the newspaper did reach her by phone and she said that she had just been released from the hospital and did not realize that felony charges had been filed against her.

According to documents filed in court, Deane allegedly sold compact discs that contained the digital versions of the county's Public Records to various individuals. Deane is also accused of behaving inappropriately when she instructed her staff to provide outside individuals with access to the county's digitized records. Others then sold the county's information to outside title agencies.

Sid Rabin, the departmental systems administrator, told the police that Deane's request stunned him so much that he asked her to repeat herself. He estimated the cost of the documents to be more than $35,000.

Additional issues arose when technical workers were instructed to transfer information onto a computer drive located in Deane's office. Charles Harvey, the assistant recorder, admitted that he checked Deane's office nightly to ensure that the drive remained there. He added that in August 2005 the county recorder arrived at her office with an empty bag and when she left with something in the bag, the drive was gone.

"Everyone anticipated this day would come," Harvey said. "Either, the charges would be dropped or this would happen. I don't think this will have an impact on our office."

Under state law, Deane is permitted to return to office until she is convicted. However, Roger said if she returns to her job, his office would consider filing a malfeasance complaint and beginning the process to remove her from her position.

"We've had concerns with that office for a long period of time," said Thom Reilly, the county manager. "The indictment seems to validate a lot of the concerns we had."

To learn more, please read:

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