ELKO — Seven search warrants filed during the investigation into the financial dealings of former Elko County Undersheriff Rick Keema show that investigators looked at purchases that he made on eBay for a baseball bat, at AT&T for a tablet, and at Utility Telephone Inc. for phone bills, according to the warrants filed last year.
The warrants, filed from December 2011 through June 2012, provide the only picture available so far into the investigation into Keema’s personal charges on his Elko County credit card in 2011.
Detectives received permission in the warrants to search Keema’s financial records. The warrants list four possible offenses they were investigating: theft, felony unlawful use of public money, felony falsification of accounts by a public officer, and obtaining and using personal identification information of another person to harm or impersonate them.
Investigators searched dozens of accounts directly or indirectly related to Keema, including his personal and business accounts.
The case was initiated in October 2011 when Elko District Attorney Mark Torvinen submitted a request to Nevada DPS to investigate whether Keema used his county credit card for personal purchases.
County personnel provided expense statements, transaction records, receipts and other items related to Keema’s county spending during a meeting with DPS detectives Oct. 17, 2011.
Keema left the sheriff’s office in May 2012 after failing to obtain Police Officer Standards and Training certification. He had faced repeated written warnings about making personal charges on his county credit card through much of 2011, according to letters from the county. The card was shut off twice when the county discovered the charges.
Keema repeatedly categorized the dozens of charges — for electronics, sporting equipment, gas, cellphones, an Internet domain, textbook rentals and other items — as inadvertent and promised to pay them back.
Receipts show Keema paid the county back for more than $2,500 of personal charges using checks, cash and coins from July through September 2011.
Keema was in charge of finances and policy at the sheriff’s office and he remained at work for seven months after his credit card was relinquished.
In an interview Tuesday, Sheriff Jim Pitts said he wasn’t tracking the investigation.
“All I know is that they finished their investigation,” Pitts said. “I am completely separate from it.”
DPS investigators also pulled Keema’s personal bank account information, his personnel file, and other information during their investigation.
A warrant from Dec. 7, 2011, was issued for financial records from eBay and Paypal for a $224.99 charge. Documentation in the warrant shows that Keema purchased an Easton Omen Little League baseball bat.
A warrant from March 13, 2012, was issued for records from Utility Telephone Inc., where Keema paid $204.07 with his county credit card for his consulting business accounts.
The account was past due at the time, according to the records sent by Utility Telephone.
Another warrant from March 13, 2012, asked for records from an AT&T store in Carson City, near where Keema lived at the time.
AT&T sent a disc with 168 pages of documents showing use for Keema’s cellphone number, as well as a purchase for a Samsung AT&T Galaxy tablet.
The AT&T accounts showed there was $744.14 past due at the time, with a total balance of $1,434 due on the account for five phone and data plans.
A payment of $695.80 corresponded with a charge to Keema’s county credit card on May 11, 2011.
Detectives interviewed Keema on Dec. 6, 2011, to ask about the charge.
“Well, this was because, what it was, I had a choice of, I’m using my own personal phones and I could have gone to the county one,” Keema said in the interview, according to the search warrant documentation. “I thought well, no, I’ll just do it myself. So I bought, I had to get a new phone cause mine was taking a dump. I figured I’ll just pay for it out of here and use that as my county phone.”
According to the warrant, investigators asked Keema if he could provide the corresponding billing statement for the account and he said he would.
Keema never sent the statement.