Fresno based Caltrans manager charged with stealing from taxpayers

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CHP investigated Christine Cox-Kovacevich for cheating taxpayers out of thousands of dollars over the course of four years. (KFSN)

CHP investigated Christine Cox-Kovacevich for cheating taxpayers out of thousands of dollars over the course of four years-- even as she collected a six-figure salary as a manager.

By reading her expense reports, you'd think Cox-Covacevich can be in two places at same time. As she sat with co-workers at a ribbon cutting ceremony in 2014, investigators said she also claimed to be on a business trip to Sacramento, claiming expenses of almost $210.

Investigators said they uncovered 106 bogus reports totaling more than $15,000 in fraudulent expenses. "Caltrans takes these allegations of misconduct very seriously and we consider this type of behavior unacceptable by any employee," said Tami Conrado, Caltrans spokeswoman.

Other Caltrans workers tipped off their bosses about the crimes, then CHP stepped in to investigate. They said calls on Cox-Kovacevich's work phone also show she was in Fresno when she claimed to be out of town, and her key card was used at the Fresno Caltrans offices on other supposed travel days.

Investigators believe she also forged signatures on some of the reports. An agency spokeswoman said Cox-Kovacevich resigned in the middle of the investigation but Caltrans may not be done with her just yet. "We will make every effort to recover taxpayer dollars where they were misused," said Conrado.

The agency also said taxpayers should know they're changing what they can to protect our money. "Steps have already been taken to strengthen our internal procedures, and our processes, to make sure it doesn't happen again," Conrado explained.

Cox-Kovacevich is in jail with her bail set at more than half a million dollars.

Action News talked to her attorney who said she denies all the charges and she tried to resolve the issue with Caltrans out of court.
Related Topics:
newscaltransembezzlementtheftfraudtaxesFresno
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