By Ron VandenBoom, Alan Sorensen
A former Havre City Court Clerk has been charged in District Court with tampering with public records and the theft of more than $10,000, according to Hill County Attorney David G. Rice.
Both charges are felonies carrying maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $50,000, Rice said.
Information filed in 12th Judicial Court against Joan Daulton of Havre on Dec. 29, 2000, alleges that while employed as the Havre City Court clerk, Daulton took money entrusted to her by the court.
Daulton, 39, was employed by the court from February 1998 until her discharge on Aug. 28, 2000.
The information alleges that during the time Daulton was employed as clerk of court, she signed for money received from the Havre Police Department and from people paying court ordered fines, but failed to deposit the money or process the tickets through the court system.
City Judge Joyce Perszyk discovered the theft during a routine inspection while Daulton was on vacation.
Perszyk then notified the Havre Police Department on Aug. 20.
Daulton is also alleged to have possessed complaints, receipts, and time pay cards belonging to the court in her east Havre home. The documents were located there during an Aug. 23 search of the home by police and Agent Kenneth G. Thompson of the Montana Department of Justice.
Court documents allege Daulton said, "I'm sick about it," and also allege that she kept track of all the money so she could pay it back.
An independent audit commissioned by the city of Havre discovered the approximate amount of the alleged theft.
Daulton has been issued a summons and is scheduled to make an initial appearance in district court before District Judge John Warner on Jan. 16, at 2 p.m.