Garland County employee who charged $346,000 for herself, including dog tuxedo, gets probation | Arkansas Blog

Garland County employee who charged $346,000 for herself, including dog tuxedo, gets probation

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STEPPING OUT: The woman convicted of spending public money on personal items, including a dog tuxedo, once had this photo posted on her Facebook page of a dog in a tuxedo. It remains uncertain if this is the dog who benefitted from the publicly financed finery.
  • STEPPING OUT: The woman convicted of spending public money on personal items, including a dog tuxedo, once had this photo posted on her Facebook page of a dog in a tuxedo. It remains uncertain if this is the dog who benefitted from the publicly financed finery.
Kristi Goss, 44, a former administrative assistant to the Garland County judge, pleaded guilty in circuit court in Hot Springs last week to using a county credit card for more than $346,000 worth of personal charges including, famously, a tuxedo for her dog. She got no jail time, but  20 years of probation.

The plea agreement provides for restitution at $300 a month.  The total owed, counting the audit cost, is $366,532, or 100 years worth of minimum monthly payments.

Goss worked 12 years for the county before being fired in June 2016 after legislative auditors turned up discrepancies. She spent the money on personal utility bills, Razorback tickets, kids' school lunches, jewelry, car payments, property taxes, a sequin throw pillow and pet insurance. She said she'd always intended to pay the money back, but "it became too easy" and "quickly got out of control."

Her pre-sentence report describes her account of bills piling up as she supported five children, with circumstances complicated by the arrest of her estranged husband on a drug charge.

The pre-sentence report.

The sentencing order lists aggravating and mitigating circumstances on the resolution of the case.

LOOSE END: This case drew national attention when Goss was arrested. It was not for the size of the theft but because of her personal purchases, particularly a tuxedo for her dog, described then as a pug. As a smush-face dog fancier, I searched and found that a Kristi Goss of Hot Springs had once posted on her Facebook page a picture of a bulldog in a tuxedo. The picture was removed soon after. I don't know if this was the tuxedo in question, or merely another coincidental hound putting on the ritz. Handsome, you have to admit.


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