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Maricopa County probes Sheriff Joe Arpaio's employee database

County administrators believe the Sheriff's Office intentionally misappropriated as much as $80 million designated for jail operations over five years to pay employees working in patrol, human-smuggling operations and investigative units. Those employees should have been paid with other funds, but county officials suspect the Sheriff's Office tried to maintain staffing levels by using money that legally was inaccessible. The voter-approved jail-detention funds were established more than a decade ago with a sales tax of one-fifth cent per dollar to build and operate jail facilities. If proven, the misappropriation of funds could lead to criminal charges. County Manager David Smith has called for an investigation by various agencies led by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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