A state audit of the Lawrence County city of Miller supported criminal charges filed against the former police chief of Clever.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway found “numerous problems” in an audit of Miller and released a report on those findings May 7. The city and the Miller Police Department received “poor” ratings. Former police chief Joshua Bruce and his brother, former Clever police chief Randall Bruce, face criminal charges.
"On multiple occasions it appears the former police chief and his brother took deliberate action to take advantage of the city and its taxpayers. They must be held to account," Auditor Galloway said. "My office's Public Corruption and Fraud Division will continue to work with law enforcement on the pending criminal charges. As long as there are officials who put their own self-interest above the community they are supposed to serve, my office will remain committed to fighting public corruption."
Randall Bruce was Clever’s chief of police from February 2011 to September 2017.
Bruce was charged in Lawrence County with receiving stolen property on Aug. 21, 2017, in connection to his brother Joshua Bruce’s alleged crimes. Joshua Bruce, the former chief of the Miller Police Department, was charged with multiple counts of stealing.
The Clever board placed Randall Bruce on paid administrative leave at the Aug. 28 special meeting, then fired by a 3-1 vote of the Clever Board of Aldermen in September.
Randall Bruce is scheduled for a jury trial in Mt. Vernon on June 19. His trial is slated to last three days.
Auditor Galloway’s report provides details on improper payroll checks totaling $24,623 issued to Randall Bruce but negotiated by Joshua Bruce. The audit of Miller also discovered $1,758 in improper overtime payments to Joshua Bruce related to highway safety grants. The audit also found $12,795 paid to the former police chief in unsupported and excessive mileage reimbursements, and $3,598 in questionable fuel purchases made with the former chief's city-issued credit card.
The audit found that Joshua Bruce used city credit cards to purchase $1,859 worth of personal items or services, as well as $362 in meals that didn’t appear to relate to city business. The purchases included hardware and building supplies, truck accessories and items from iTunes.
Joshua Bruce has been charged with multiple criminal counts of receiving stolen property, both felony and misdemeanor.
The state auditor said that her office’s Public Corruption and Fraud Division is working with law enforcement on additional information discovered during the audit process.
According a probable cause statement, Randall Bruce was employed as a reserve lieutenant at the Miller Police Department. The statement alleges that the brothers stole $27,481 in payroll from the city of Miller.
The court documents say that Randall Bruce “knew about the theft, assisted in the theft and claimed the fraudulent income on his income taxes” between Sept. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2016.
The document goes on to say that “during an interview with Randall, he stated many of the time records that were completed by Joshua Bruce were falsified. Randall also admitted most of the money was deposited into a bank account used by Joshua Bruce.”
Joshua Bruce has a pretrial conference scheduled for May 13 in Lawrence County. He faces eight felony charges of receiving stolen property. In a separate court case, Joshua Bruce is charged with the class A misdemeanor of receiving stolen property in Christian County, and is scheduled to appear before Associate Circuit Judge Doug Bacon on May 15.