Three former Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center administrators - charged with misusing center money - were granted a change of venue Thursday by 4th Circuit Judge Joseph Dimick.
Glen R. Brown, Carl V. Smith and Craig W. Stephens will now be tried in 3rd Circuit Court in Salt Lake County instead of the 4th Circuit Court in Provo.Brown, 62, faces nine felony counts of misusing public money and eight felony counts of theft. He resigned as executive director of the center in April following allegations that he and other top administrators misused funds.
Smith, 41, faces 25 counts each of felony misuse and theft and one count of state income tax evasion. He resigned in April as director of specialty programs.
Stephens, 34, faces 24 counts of misusing public money, 24 counts of theft and one count of state income tax evasion. He also resigned in April from his position as director of administrative services.
Criminal charges were filed against the men by the Utah attorney general's office on Friday. The charges were the result of a six-month investigation by the state office.
Rodney G. Snow, Smith's attorney, said the change of venue "was something we felt would enhance the system of justice."
A change of venue is usually granted when a case receives a large amount of publicity, which in turn can minimize the chances of getting a fair trial.
Snow said the three men will meet with a 3rd Circuit judge next week for arraignment and scheduling of a preliminary hearing.
Prosecutors allege that the center lost $3.5 million to the three defendants through unauthorized contractual and credit-card expenditures.
The Utah attorney general's office took over the investigation upon request from Utah County Attorney Steve Killpack because of a possible conflict of interest. Killpack previously worked for the center as director of county mental competency.