UPDATED: AG petitions judge to remove Rockingham County attorney from office
State prosecutors filed a petition seeking the removal of Rockingham County Attorney James Reams from office, accusing him of sexual harassment and misapplication of state fines and federal forfeiture money. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO)
Reams probe: Trips, rebates, accountBy JIM KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
The investigation into Rockingham County Attorney James Reams also found that:
• Reams spent $240,000 from a forfeiture account that co-mingled court fines from prosecuting liquor and gambling cases and federal drug forfeiture money. He used the account to reimburse travel expenses, office equipment and food, including $20,000 in reimbursements to his personal credit card. “Reams converted county funds for the benefit of his office and himself, and took steps to obfuscate his actions from county officials by ignoring the protocols required by federal law and by submitting false and misleading documents to federal, state and county officials,” state prosecutors said.
• Trips funded by the forfeiture account between 2007 and 2013 included meetings in: Honolulu, Hawaii; Quebec, Canada; San Antonio, Texas; Washington D.C.; San Diego, Calif.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Charlestown, S.C., Orlando, Fla. and Nashville, Tenn. The expenditures were made outside of what was legally approved by the county delegation, prosecutors said. Some of the meetings were associated with Reams' membership to the National District Attorneys Association.
• Reams was required by state law and the state's Rules of Professional Conduct to disclose that one of his employees had lied on her resume, which amounted to evidence that could have been used to impeach her testimony. The employee, Tara Longo, testified in a 2006 sexual assault trial of a Danville man now serving 40 to 80 years in state prison. Reams took no action to notify others after the trial that her testimony could present a problem, despite his ethical obligations.
• Equipment purchased for the county attorney's office was bought in Reams' name, sometimes qualifying for rebates. Some rebate checks were issued directly to Reams.
“Reams instructed one of his staff to take the check(s) he signed and cash them at the TD Bank. When she returned with the cash in an envelope, on many occasions she saw him put the money in his pocket,” prosecutors said. “No documents have been located regarding the rebates as of the filing of this complaint.”
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