Merced County employee arrested, faces possible bribery charges

FRESNO, Calif.

Deputies arrested Anthony Thompson on Tuesday. The 53-year-old works as a finance supervisor for the county's Revenue and Reimbursement Department.

Thompson was booked into jail on Tuesday night on one count of felony bribery. His bond was set at $10,000, and he bailed out hours later.

Investigators said he abused his power with at least one woman, and now they're looking into whether there are any more victims.

A three-week investigation by the Merced County Sheriff's Office led to the arrest of Thompson during a sting operation.

"Arrangements were made with the client to meet at a specified location, where sheriff's detectives met with Thompson and took him into custody," said Det. Aaron Rosenberg with the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

The Revenue and Reimbursement Department collects court fees, victim restitution payments, and other unpaid debts owed to county agencies. Detectives said Thompson offered to make adjustments to a woman's account in exchange for dates.

"During the course of our investigation we found these dates included taking the client out to dinner, drinks, and purchasing a hotel room in Fresno," said Rosenberg.

Investigators are still looking into exactly how much money Thompson may have offered to adjust, but they said the accusations are serious regardless of the dollar amount.

"Any time there are allegations like this with a county employee or public official, we want to make sure number one there are some facts to those allegations, and to take care of the problem as quickly as possible," said Rosenberg.

Detectives said the woman did not accept the offers that were made and called them instead.

A spokesman for Merced County said Thompson is still an employee at this time, and the county is addressing the issue internally, but he could not comment on any actions that may be taken because he says it is a personnel matter.

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