Arpaio's office accused of misspending up to $100 million

Posted: Updated:
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX (AP) -- The office of an Arizona sheriff known for efforts against illegal immigrants faces accusations that it inappropriately spent $99 million from two jail funds to pay for other law enforcement operations over the last eight years.

Maricopa County officials say Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office spent some of the money on immigration patrols and a public corruption squad that brought unsuccessful criminal cases against two county officials and a judge.

An initial estimate in September put the figure at $60 million to $80 million over four or five years.

Last year, officials asked federal prosecutors already investigating Arpaio to determine whether the use of the money was a criminal violation.

Interim Chief Deputy Sheriff Jerry Sheridan says there was nothing criminal about the mistake. He blamed an outdated payroll system that failed to adequately track when jail officers were transferred to regular patrol.