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Gov. Crist suspends Okaloosa County Sheriff over corruption charges

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist suspended Okaloosa County Sheriff Charles Morris on Friday, hours before the sheriff was to make an initial appearance in federal court in Las Vegas on corruption charges

Authorities said Morris, 59, will be returned to Florida where he faces similar charges along with his office manager, Teresa Adams, 50.

A complaint alleges that Morris and Adams created fictitious bonuses for Sheriff's Office employees. The complaint alleged that employees were directed to return all or a portion of the bonuses as cash and cashier's checks under the pretense that the money would be used for charity.

The federal complaint charged Morris with theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, money laundering, fraud and conspiracy. Authorities did not immediately release other details.

Morris was also the president of the Florida Sheriff's Association Board of Directors. The sheriff's association did not respond to a call for comment.

The governor issued an executive order Friday to suspend Morris and appointed Edward Spooner as interim sheriff.

Meanwhile, Wakulla County officials are asking Crist to investigate the conduct of Sheriff David Harvey, who has been accused by authorities of leaving the scene of an accident last week after hitting a parked vehicle. Authorities said Harvey has admitted he had a few drinks, but denied being intoxicated.

Gov. Crist suspends Okaloosa County Sheriff over corruption charges 02/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 27, 2009 10:22pm]
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