A Lehi public works official is currently under investigation for allegedly embezzling almost $800,000 from Lehi by ordering snow removal materials through a company owned by a family member, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Although no criminal charges have been filed as of Thursday, a recently unsealed search warrant shows Wade Allred, a former streets department superintendent, is reportedly under suspicion of embezzlement and fraud.
The warrant states Dave Norman, Lehi public works director, contacted law enforcement after finding inconsistent paperwork for labor and materials related to the street department.
“(Norman) found that there were orders made for road salting sand and other road-related aggregate ordered from Vinco Enterprises,” police reported. “Dave found this to be concerning since the City contracted their road work through Geneva Rock.”
He learned the reason for the orders was due to the availability of materials, but when Norman contacted Geneva Rock, officials stated the company kept “stock well beyond what the city of Lehi could ever need.”
The warrant stated that Allred had reportedly ordered more than 900 tons of road base for the Streets Department, costing the city around $791,582.
Josh Jenson, Geneva Rock superintendent, confirmed the company had a contract with Lehi and explained that the amount of road base ordered by Allred “would have been way more than the job would have even been required.”
Vinco Enterprises is located in Cedar City and solely owned by Allred’s cousin, Adam Garth Lake, according to the warrant.
Lake told investigators he had been doing business with Lehi since 2014 and stated Allred would reportedly call and request various products. Allred would then subcontract to an individual known as Ben Johnson and prepay for the materials, the warrant stated.
Johnson would reportedly receive payment via cash or fuel through communications on Facebook or WhatsApp. The warrant requested access to Lake’s Facebook information so police could verify business relations with Johnson.
“I believe that obtaining Facebook information will prove that prior contact with Ben Johnson did not occur and that an embezzlement was committed,” an investigator wrote in the warrant.
In interviews with investigators, Allred reportedly said all the material loads were delivered and accounted for. He stated Vinco Enterprises would deliver sand, road salt and other materials needed for salting roadways.
“He told me how the sand and salt was mixed and how his crew had to clean it up, as required by state law,” police reported.
But Allred’s assistant told investigators that the city does not mix salt and sand. The city contracts with Robinson’s Trucking for road salt and additional salt from Redmond Salt.
The assistant denied ordering salt from any other companies and added that he had never heard of Vinco Enterprises.
“I showed him the list of purchases from Vinco and I asked him if any of them appeared to be legitimate and he told me no,” the warrant stated.
Investigators also spoke with a Lehi heavy machine operator who delivers and stocks the snow removal salt in a city warehouse. The operator explained how the road salt is delivered and stored and had never heard of Vinco Enterprises before.
He confirmed the city workers have not mixed salt and sand together for several years, according to investigators. Interviews with another Streets Department employee revealed he had never heard of Vinco Enterprises either.
“(He) saw the billing for the road base and he told me that they produce their own road base and none of it gets imported,” police reported.
The warrant was executed in September. Lehi city officials confirmed Allred was fired from his position as of Oct. 1
“We can confirm that we are actively participating in an investigation of a former employee regarding these claims,” the city stated on social media. “Currently, no charges have been filed.”