Commonwealth’s attorney still weighing evidence in county finances probe

Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff, who six weeks ago was handed the results of a six-month-long Virginia State Police investigation into possible misappropriation of funds by one or more Rappahannock county employees, continues to weigh whether sufficient evidence exists to prosecute a case.

Virginia State Police Special Agent W.W. Talbert, who delivered the state’s findings to Goff in early September, said the case remains “open” until the attorney decides to either prosecute or drop the charges.

“I haven’t finished my part of that” investigation, Goff told the Rappahannock News on Tuesday outside his Gay Street office, answering “yep” when asked to confirm whether the case remained open.

A mandatory State Police probe was launched in the wake of a letter from Rappahannock County Treasurer Debbie Knick to the county’s Board of Supervisors in February of this year. In the correspondence, she cited instances where one or more employees failed to follow proper expense and payroll procedures or else did not conduct sufficient oversight of budgeting and spending.

The investigation, state authorities said, examined spending and procurement activities beginning in 2016.

Sgt. David Ostwinkle of the State Police Bureau of Legal Affairs described the general activity reported in Rappahannock County as “a misappropriation of public funds” and characterized potential damages or injuries as “currency embezzlement.”

Those connected with the probe declined to name any county employees who might be targeted.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at