Fremont County Clerk arrested for embezzlement and fraud is released from jail

Posted at 7:13 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 17:32:40-04

Fremont County Clerk and Recorder Katie Barr was released from jail on a $50,000 PR bond Wednesday afternoon.

A personal recognizance (PR) bond means Barr was not required to pay any money up front. However, she must appear at all future court hearings and if she leaves town, she will be required to pay the entire bond amount and face re-arrest.

Barr is represented by a public defender who argued Barr is not a flight risk and has never been in trouble with the law.

She is due back in court March 28. As part of her bond agreement, she cannot write and cash checks and cannot harass county employees.

It’s unclear whether Barr will return to work Thursday.

Because she is an elected official, Barr will continue earning a salary and cannot be fired. The only way elected officials can be removed from office is through a recall election or a criminal conviction.

According to an arrest warrant, Fremont County Clerk and Recorder Katie Barr started stealing money just one year after she took office.

Court documents show her alleged crimes took place between January 2011 and May 2017.

Barr is charged with embezzling public property, witness intimidation, fraud and harassment. She was arrested Tuesday after a six-month criminal investigation into financial mismanagement in her office.

“Over the past six months, Cañon City Police Department detectives have been working with the FBI to investigative possible criminal conduct that stemmed from financial irregularities discovered at the Fremont County Clerk’s Office,” Canon City Police Chief Daric Harvey said in a news release. “The story was initially brought to the attention of authorities by a reporter from KOAA who submitted a Colorado Open Records Act request to county officials. The County Attorney began filling the request and notified the Board of County Commissioners of possible financial irregularities.”

Investigators accuse Barr of writing checks totaling more than $200,000 to cover insufficient funds in business and personal bank accounts belong to her and her husband, Chad Barr.

When the financial irregularities were discovered, Barr allegedly threatened employees with termination.

“On September 28, 2017, Barr emailed staff within the Clerk and Recorder’s (Office) along with the Department of Motor Vehicles (to say) that they would be terminated and could face a lawsuit if they talk about the checks outside the department,” court documents say.

Court documents also state that Barr asked County Attorney Brenda Jackson “not to tell anyone because of her embarrassment”.

In the affidavit, Det. Athena Garcia stated that Barr had written numerous checks to banks where she and her husband, Chad, have accounts with insufficient funds.

“Barr proceeded to write numerous checks defrauding the Clerk’s Office by obtaining cash and depositing it into an account to cover previous checks written,” Garcia said. “Katie Barr, as stated before is an elected official who is a public servant that has knowingly converted public moneys to her own use for personal gain.”