Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 8, 2013

Former auditor pleads guilty

Agreement calls for 18 month sentence, theft charges would be dropped.

By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — TIPTON — The former Tipton County auditor charged with official misconduct stemming from her time in office has entered into a plea agreement with a special prosecutor.

Amanda Inman Mitchell entered a plea of guilty to a Class D felony charge of official misconduct last week in the Tipton Circuit Court.

Sentencing has been set for Nov. 1 at which time Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lett will determine whether to accept the plea agreement reached between Mitchell’s attorney Rodney Sarkovics and Special Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mitchell will receive an 18-month sentence with the Indiana Department of Corrections. She will be placed on probation for one year and be required to perform 40 hours of community service.

If Mitchell completes all the terms and conditions of probation, she may petition the court to modify her sentence to a Class A misdemeanor.

Leerkamp said Monday if the judge accepts the plea agreement, three counts of theft will be dismissed.

“This is a satisfactory reconciliation of the charges that were pending,” she said.

Mitchell was elected to the position of Tipton County auditor in 2010 and resigned on June 1, 2012 during a meeting with Tipton County Attorney John Brooke, Commissioner Mike Cline and Brett Curnutt, chairman of the Tipton County Republican Party.

At the time of her resignation, Curnutt reported Mitchell resigned for health and personal reasons.

Following her resignation, documents obtained by the Kokomo Tribune showed Inman used county funds to pay utility bills at her residence.

There was a wire transfer on March 27, 2012, in the amount of $312.47 to TDS, a communications company, and on April 13, $389.18 was paid to Vectren Energy.

Those funds have been repaid.

In 2011, Inman repaid the county $268.13 for a stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in which her family joined her for a second night and for food at a conference.

After the disclosure of the misuse of county funds, Brooke said he was turning the information over to the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

That audit found Mitchell owed $9,469.16 for the additional audit costs incurred by the state and late payment charges on county bills.

The bonding company repaid the county $13,000 for the late fees and the cost of the audit, Brooke said Monday.

Since Inman’s resignation, Tipton County has spent $50,000 on a consultant to help balance the county’s books and to balance the books with the county’s bank accounts.