Prosecuting Official for Funds Misuse Led to Texas DA’s Downfall
Posted Jul 17, 2008 2:03 PM CST
By Martha Neil
Elected six times as district attorney of Rockwell County, in Texas, Ray Sumrow didn't expect his career move to be a prison cell.
But that is where he is now spending his time after 22 years in office, serving a 15-year term for stealing public money. The architect of his downfall was a longtime county treasurer he prosecuted for misusing $2,100 in government funds: after resigning and pleading guilty to the crime, "she told investigators that he had done the same thing on a much larger scale," reports the Dallas Morning News. An investigation by Texas Rangers and the FBI confirmed her allegations that he had misused $68,000 in government funds, and revealed additional thefts, forgery and tampering with records.
Although Sumrow, who is now 58, was earning more than $100,000 annually, he was a poor money manager according to those who knew him, making impulsive purchases, maintaining no savings account and making no investments. He and his friends say he didn't mishandle any funds intentionally.
"Prosecutors say Mr. Sumrow's financial state led him to steal," the newspaper recounts. "He routinely overdrew his checking account, but his balance stayed positive while state money was in the account. Without that money, he would have spent $35,000 more than he brought in."
He is appealing his convictions.
ABAJournal.com: "New Theft Conviction for Former 20-Year Texas Prosecutor"
ABAJournal.com: "20-Year Texas Prosecutor Convicted of Stealing Office Funds"