According to the affidavit for probable cause of arrest filed Nov. 27 in Izard County, the investigation began in May of 2022 when the Public Integrity Unit of the Attorney General’s Office received information there had possibly been several felony crimes committed by a city council member in Horseshoe Bend.
“This information was reviewed from a citizen of Horseshoe Bend who saw social media posts regarding expenditures of an employee of the Horseshoe Bend MRID, Josh Jackson,” the affidavit states. “At the time, Jackson was superintendent and office manager of the MRID, which included the golf course, swimming pools, several lakes and any other properties under the direction of the MRID.”
In the social media post, it was stated Jackson was misusing the MRID credit card and was possibly making personal purchases with the card.
When the citizen attempted to file a police report, they were told because Jackson was a council member, the Attorney General’s Office would need to be contacted.
Special Agent Rick Newton took the initial complaint and began an investigation after confirming Jackson was a council member and was also employed by the MRID which is funded by the assessment fees residents are required to pay.
Newton noted Jackson was not acting as a council member while working for the MRID, but did have his own business located inside the golf course pro show which is operated by the MRID.
Newton subpoenaed bank records and credit card records for the MRID and found the credit card records showed there were several cash advances on the card spanning from 2018 through 2020.
“The cash advance amounts came to a total of $1,933. There were numerous small charges on the MRID credit card that were questionable. These charges were made on weekends and at locations not consistent with being used for MRID business,” the affidavit states. “Josh Jackson was the only person who had access to the MRID credit card.”
When the bank records were received, Newton noted there were multiple checking accounts for the MRID and the checks on these accounts were to be signed by two MRID board commissioners.
“Newton was able to determine there were 16 checks that were written out payable to Josh Jackson or his business. The checks were for different amounts, however there was at least one written for $6,000 and another for $4,000. Both were payable to Josh Jackson,” the affidavit states.
The checks were written from 2018 to 2021 for a total amount of $30,112 and it was determined Jackson was paid biweekly by direct deposit from the MRID and made approximately $55,000 annually.
“At the time, the MRID credit card was used for cash advances and the MRID cheks were written to Jackson for cash, there were three individuals who were the MRID board commissioners and were appointed by the city council of Horseshoe Bend,” the affidavit states.
Newton located the commissioners and conducted videotaped interviews with each separately. Each MRID commissioner denied giving Jackson permission to sign their names or to write checks payable to himself. Each also said they did not get Jackson permission to get cash advances on the MRID credit card.
“One commissioner’s signature was on nine checks payable to Jackson or his business. Another commissioner’s signature was on 13 of the checks and the third commissioner’s signature was on eight of the checks. All three of the commissioners were on the signature card for the MRID checking account.
Newton also determined there were numerous other checks made payable to individuals and businesses which had forged signatures and these checks were aside from the checks Jackson had written to himself. In total, 87 checks were found with forged signatures.
On Sept. 16, 2022 Newton interviewed Jackson regarding the checks and credit card purchases.
Jackson said he had worked for the MRID since 2011 and at the time the checks were written he was the superintendent and office manager.
Jackson said he ran his business on MRID property but had no employees, contract or lease wit the MRID but was allowed to do it.
He stated he was given the credit card by MRID board member for use for anything needed the golf course or MRID.
Jackson said he was never given restrictions or guidance for use of the card but did admit he used the card on occasion for personal use.
When asked why the card was used for cash advances, Jackson said at times he needed change for $100 and would use it for that. Although he had a cash bag containing $500, he said he didn’t think about the bag being available.
“Jackson claimed when he used the card for personal reasons, he would pay the MRID back through his business. He said that there were two cash registers in the shop, one for his business and one for the MRID. Purchases for anything MRID related went into one register and if it was for his business, it went into the other register,” the affidavit states.
Jackson acknowledged he wasn’t on the signature card for the MRID but claimed he’d been given permission by two of the commissioners to sign checks.
“Jackson denied ever getting a cash advance for personal use but did admit to forging the 16 checks that were written to himself or his business. He did say the MRID was supposed to give him a raise at one point but never did and his direct deposit for his paycheck didn’t go in on time during one pay period. Those were the only excuses he had for writing the checks to himself,” the affidavit stated.
Jackson said other checks that were written to vendors or for bills and forged were because he could not get a commissioner to come and sign the check themselves.
“Jackson also admitted that he was a sitting Horseshoe Bend council member during the time he forged these checks. Jackson also acknowledged that the funds he was accessing to write checks to himself for the $30,112 was from MRID assessment fees paid by the citizens of Horseshoe Bend,” the affidavit states.
Newton retired in January of 2023 and the case was reassigned to Special Agent Steve Moore to complete the investigation in March of 2023.
As a result, Jackson has been charged with theft of property, a class B felony; forgery in the second degree, a class C felony and fraudulent use of a credit card, a class D felony.
He was booked into the Izard County Detention Center Nov. 27 and released later the same day on a $5,000 bond.