Former Sheriff, Chief Deputy Under Investigation


A former sheriff is the subject of a criminal investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds and missing equipment. A State Board of Accounts audit of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department released this morning found missing firearms valued at more than $7,500 and ammunition purchases of more than $13,000 between 2011 and 2014. The latter are incompatible with the firearms in inventory and used by the county sheriff’s officers, according to the audit. Mike Gayer was sheriff at that time. He retired at the end of 2014 due to term limits.

Current Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine tells WKVI News he found discrepancies in the county’s firearms inventory when he took office. He contacted the State Board of Accounts a year ago after finding questionable purchases from the department-controlled commissary fund. That’s where money from items sold to inmates is deposited.

The audit found commissary funds were used to provide holiday and retirement celebrations and purchase various commemorative items. Money was also spent to settle a small claims court settlement levied against a sheriff’s office employee in 2014, according to the audit.

Additional audit findings indicate the former sheriff purchased more than $27,000 worth of firearms and ammunition from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) Funds. They were established by special legislation to fund the operation and maintenance of the justice center. State law stipulates they can only be used for that purpose.

Gayer is also alleged to have spent $189.80 from the Work Release fund for a cuff case, gun holster and ammunition cases. That is inconsistent with provisions as to how that money can be spent.

With regard to the missing items, Gayer told WKVI news, “I am not involved.” He declined requests for further comment. An Indiana State Police spokeswoman confirms an investigation involving Gayer and his former chief deputy, Ron Patrick, is ongoing. Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman has been named special prosecutor in the case. He also confirms the investigation continues.

The audit seeks to recover a total of $26,637.34 from Gayer for firearms and ammunition purchases and additional audit costs. The report was presented to Pulaski County officials in November. Click Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department Special Investigation Report to read a copy.