Salt Lake County DA charges former Bluffdale fire chief, mayoral candidate John Roberts with felony misuse of public funds

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 29, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against former Bluffdale Fire Chief John Calvin Roberts, alleging he falsified payroll and work logs to pay firefighters for shifts they did not work.

Roberts, 68, has been charged on suspicion of:

  • Misuse of public money, a second-degree felony
  • Five counts of falsification or alteration of government records, each a class B misdemeanor

If convicted on the misuse of public money charge, Roberts could face a maximum of up to 15 years in prison. If convicted of falsification of government records, Roberts could face up to six months in jail for each count.

“It is alleged that, while Fire Chief of Bluffdale, Mr. Roberts knowingly paid firefighters a total of $86,000 for hours they did not work, and knowingly made false entries in payroll and work logs reflecting purported shifts/hours firefighters did not work,” says a statement released Monday by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

Roberts was first accused of falsifying public records after a whistleblower complaint in 2020. In April of that year, Roberts signed a separation agreement with the city, which specified he could work for the city in a capacity outside of the Fire Department.

Roberts and another candidate, Bluffdale City councilman Jeff Gaston later ran for mayor against Natalie Hall. Hall was elected to the position.

The probable cause statement filed in the DA’s case against Roberts, says the defendant admitted to the crime.

“The statement of defendant John Calvin Roberts (is) that he had in fact altered the time logs to generate additional pay for the affected employees, that he had done so intentionally, and that he knew that the conduct was wrong.”

Gephardt Daily will have more information on this story as it develops.


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