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Pahrump-based Valley Electric Association completes investigation, audit

Valley Electric Association has concluded an audit on the 2018 financials and an outside investigation into allegations of embezzlement by utility executive Angela Evans.

On the audit front, a news release from Valley Electric stated that the co-op’s 2018 financial statements “‘present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position’ of VEA.” The audit was conducted following allegations that a financial cover-up of sexual harassment by a former leader occurred at Valley.

“This puts it in black and white,” said Valley’s interim chief executive Richard Peck in a news release from Valley. “Members know with 100 percent confidence that Valley Electric has been honest and completely transparent in its governance and accounting with members’ funds.”

Valley has also worked with a private investigator on looking into allegations of embezzlement of Angela Evans, currently on paid administrative leave from Valley.

Evans was named the CEO in October 2018 and was arrested Feb. 26 on allegations that she used co-op money for work done on her personal residence in Pahrump and subsequently put on leave, pending an investigation.

The investigator went through Valley’s records “to determine if there was any illegal activity or unauthorized activity, and the investigation showed that Angela Evans was not involved in any decision-making processes or business processes along the road,” Peck said in an interview with a reporter from the Pahrump Valley Times. “That was between the owner of the property and Valley.”

Peck went on to state that the report concluded that “a violation of any kind was a violation of our integrity policy. Somewhere down the line, she should have identified she had… was going to acquire a financial interest in this property, so there was maybe a small policy breakdown.”

Peck said that “there was no embezzlement.” Peck also stated that Valley was sending a summary of the private investigator’s report to the sheriff’s office.

As of Thursday at 8 a.m., Lt. David Boruchowitz, of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, said he’d not received anything from Valley.

When asked via email about Evans’ future with Valley based on the results of the outside investigation, Peck responded, via email, that Valley’s board has scheduled a meeting with Evans the week following the annual meeting on Saturday, April 27.

Evans is scheduled to appear in court on April 29 at Pahrump Justice Court.

According to the court clerk on Tuesday, no formal charges have been filed in Evan’s case. She allegedly charged $75,000 worth of work on her house in Pahrump to the co-op and was later arrested on suspicion of embezzlement of $3,500-plus.

The district attorney’s office in Pahrump was contacted for this report but had not responded by the publication deadline for this article.

Valley is still under investigation by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office over allegations that a financial cover-up of sexual harassment occurred at the co-op. The allegations include that current and former employees were paid “hush money” to keep quiet about accusations of sexual harassment by former CEO Thomas Husted on a female employee. Husted has not been charged with anything.

A search warrant was executed by the sheriff’s office on Feb. 22 with a second search warrant being executed on Feb. 26 when Evans was taken into custody.

Peck called the allegations of paying people off “unfounded rumors.”

“There was severance money paid,” Peck said. “But again, everything was done in accordance to policies, procedures and controls within the guidelines of the company. To me, it’s too bad that a lot of these rumors got out there and got carried away, because they were simply not true then, and nor could I find any fault with the business processes or fault with the severance pay.”

Prior to a launch of a criminal investigation, a members’ group, VEA Members for Change, called for, and continues to call for, the removal of several of Valley’s directors.

Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert &Moss, the firm that conducted the audit in February, was contacted for this report.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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