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County employee charged; $7,000 allegedly found in her vehicle

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

After several Platte County taxpayers received delinquency notices even though they had paid their tax bills--with cash--Platte County Collector Donna Nash knew she had a problem on her hands.

That problem came to public light last week when employee Barbara Milton was charged with a felony count of stealing. Milton, who had worked in the office for two years, also faces a misdemeanor charge of tampering with a public record. She is free after posting a $25,000 bond.

Milton, age 30, of Parkville, is accused of stealing at least $16,000 in tax payments. However, sources close to the investigation told The Landmark the actual amount of unaccounted for funds could total more than $35,000 once the investigation is complete.

Milton allegedly pocketed cash payments made at the collector’s office in the Platte County South Annex at 7655 NW Prairie View Road, at Platte Woods. Authorities say she told them she gambled with the money at Kansas City area casinos.

Court papers obtained by The Landmark indicate that Nash notified the sheriff’s department of the problem last Tuesday. Nash had received an inquiry from a taxpayer to determine if her payment of $1,276 was received, as the taxpayer was not issued a receipt. Authorities say the $1,276 remains unaccounted for. Nash indicated to detectives that her own investigation had discovered seven payments that were entered and then allegedly deleted by Milton.

Nash told authorities the deletions do not show a re-entry of the payment.

Nash told The Landmark that when she suspected a problem, she sent delinquent tax notices out earlier than normal.

“We needed copies of paid tax receipts,” she said.

Once those delinquent notices were sent, several taxpayers produced receipts disputing the delinquency.

“As soon as I knew there was a problem the first thing I did was contact the sheriff’s department,” Nash said.

Last Wednesday, detectives from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department interviewed Milton. They say during that interview, Milton admitted to stealing about $16,000. Milton told them she would enter a payment of cash as a payment by check, which would automatically produce a receipt for the taxpayer. Milton allegedly would then log into the collector’s database and “reverse” the payment. Milton would then place the cash received into her personal belongings, it is alleged.

Court papers detail how Milton admitted to stealing cash payments often after 4 p.m. at the South Annex. Milton allegedly stated that at 4 p.m. she would run the daily report, and that any payments made after 4 p.m. would require hand-written receipts for the payment. Milton allegedly told detectives that she would write out the receipt and place the cash into her personal belongings. She did not enter any record of these late-in-the-day payments into the collector’s records, according to the court documents obtained by The Landmark.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for Milton’s residence and her vehicle. The search of her residence produced several “stubs” containing the names of Platte County taxpayers. Authorities say they found around $7,000 in currency in her vehicle, along with more of the taxpayer “stubs.” Gaming vouchers from casinos were also found, according to court papers.

Milton allegedly told authorities she kept these “stubs” so that she would know how much money she needed to pay back to the collector’s office.

During a second interview with detectives after searches of her home and vehicle had been conducted, Milton allegedly confessed she had been stealing money from the office since the end of May 2008 or the beginning of June 2008.

According to court documents, Milton also stated that each ‘stub’ found in either her residence or her vehicle accounted for an amount of money that she had stolen from the office. Milton stated that she had stolen the amount highlighted on each ‘stub.’

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd praised the collector’s office for their cooperation in the matter.

Zahnd noted that the collector’s office immediately reported the alleged crime and assisted in the investigation. “In this case, the collector’s office took quick action to notify the sheriff’s department after it uncovered possible wrongdoing,” he said. “Collector’s office employees then cooperated fully with all aspects of the criminal investigation.”

Milton’s next court appearance on the charges against her is set for Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 9 a.m. in Platte County Circuit Court Division IV in front of Judge James VanAmburg.


Milton’s name has previously been in the news from a story reported by The Landmark back in October. At that time, county collector employee Joshua T. Ellington was charged with making threats against some of his co-workers. Ellington, 26, of Shawnee Mission, Ks., went to the South Annex after being fired from the office and spoke with Milton that day, then later called her that night, telling Milton he believed co-workers had conspired in a plot against him. Authorities offer no indication that the previous situation is related to the case now filed against Milton.

Ellington was eventually found guilty of the charges against him. He served 20 days in jail and was sentenced to two years probation, must receive psychological evaluation and follow recommendations made after that examination, and is banned from county property with the exception of court appearances.

Milton has been active in Republican politics in Platte County. She currently serves as secretary of the Platte County Republican Central Committee and president of the Platte County Federated Republican Women’s club.


Will the charges against Milton result in procedural changes in the collector’s office?

“Oh, yes,” replied Nash in a phone interview with The Landmark this week. “My main concern now is getting everything corrected so that the citizens don’t lose faith in the integrity of my office. I hope they realize as soon as a problem arose we acted as quickly as possible.

“Changes are planned. The system worked but now I see there are other things we need to do and we are working on those right now.”

Nash said the alleged thievery is new to her office.

“This is the first time in my 27 years in office that I’ve had employee theft,” the collector stated. “It’s heartbreaking when someone you trusted disappoints you.

“I’m sorry. I’m heartbroken. I don’t know what else to say.”


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