Former Cemetery Fund Administrator Indicted On Theft Charges

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A Gila County grand jury handed down an eight count indictment Thursday against Tonto Basin real estate agent John Dryer.

The indictment alleges that Dryer committed six counts of theft and two counts of fraud while he was the administrator of the Tonto Basin Cemetery Fund.

When contacted Monday, Dryer, who was the cemetery fund administrator from 1995 to 1997, insisted that he has done nothing wrong.

"I always felt that I was doing the right thing for the residents of Tonto Basin," Dryer said.

From June 1995 to October 1998, Dryer allegedly used cemetery funds improperly, Gila County Attorney Jim Hazel said. Hazel said his office was notified of the allegations years ago, and when he was elected in November, he made it a priority to complete open-ended investigations, such as the investigation into the Tonto Basin Cemetery Fund.

Dryer said the allegations are false.

"First of all, I have not been involved in that fund since 1997," he said. "When someone (died), we charged $100 we later raised that to $300 per plot. That helped buy land and keep up on the maintenance."

Hazel said his office hasn't pin-pointed how much money is allegedly missing from the fund; Dryer insists there is no money missing.

"If I'm guilty of anything, it was how I administered the fund," he said.

Dryer will appear in Gila County Superior Court at 9 a.m., June 25 in Globe.

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