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Ex-officer latest among officials charged in Iowa town

Ex-officer latest among officials charged in Iowa town

ARMSTRONG — A former Armstrong police officer has been charged with dozens of crimes, making him the latest in a string of former town officials to face criminal charges in the last 14 months in a wide-reaching corruption case.

Former Armstrong officer Benjamin Scheevel was charged earlier this month with 84 felony and misdemeanor counts — some dating back to 2016, radio station KILR reported. The counts include stalking, involving at least two women; non-felonious misconduct in office; assault; and unauthorized dissemination of criminal history data. He also faces counts of obstruction, theft and tax evasion.

Scheevel is being held in the Buena Vista County Jail on a $200,000 bond. An attorney listed for him in online court documents did not immediately return a phone message left Monday by the Associated Press.

The case is being prosecuted by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, which also is pursuing cases against other former Armstrong officials, including the former mayor, police chief and several town clerks. Those charges were brought following a multiyear investigation that uncovered embezzlement and other abuses, authorities said.

Armstrong has about 880 residents and is 135 miles north of Des Moines, near the state’s border with Minnesota.

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These undated photos provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety show (from left) former Armstrong Mayor Greg Buum, city clerk Tracie Lang, police chief Craig Merrill, and former city clerk Connie Thackery. They are charged with theft and fraud. A former Armstrong police officer now is the latest town official to face charges. (Iowa Department of Public Safety via AP)