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Forgery case involving Sulphur Springs dismissed

by NWA Democrat-Gazette | February 26, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Prosecutors dismissed a felony charge against a Gravette man who was arrested along with his then-wife in connection with money stolen from Sulphur Springs.

Tyler Bates, 34, was charged with forgery. He appeared in court Wednesday where Matthew Light, deputy prosecutor, announced the dismissal of Bates' case.

Codi Bates, 34, was sentenced in January to 32 months in federal prison in the theft, Light told Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren. The couple's divorce was granted Feb. 12.

Light said Codi Bates' case was handled federally, and the decision was made to dismiss the state case against Tyler Bates. Codi Bates was accused of stealing $75,000 from Federal Emergency Management Administration grant, according to court documents.

She was the office administrator for Sulphur Springs and stole money from the city in a variety of ways for almost two years, according to court records. She got the signatures of city officials under false pretenses, then wrote checks to herself and her husband. She also used cash paid to the city for water services to pay her personal expenses.

Auditors revealed undocumented disbursements, payroll discrepancies and receipts not deposited. An audit report found $144,464 was misappropriated from the city water department and $40,470 was misappropriated from the town's general fund.

Bates issued 15 checks to herself in 2017 for $10,644 and deposited them into the couple's joint account, according to the audit. She also issued five checks to her husband totaling $4,422.

Bates wrote multiple checks to herself in 2018, receiving $56,463 and issuing four checks to her husband totaling $3,973, according to the audit.

State charges against Codi Bates were dropped in December based on her federal guilty plea.

She was sentenced to 32 months in prison without the possibility of parole followed by three years supervised release. She was ordered to pay $184,934 victim restitution.

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