Weber County Sheriff's Office
James Ervin Owens

OGDEN — A former Weber State University employee was booked into jail this week as police investigate whether he misused public funds while working at the school.

James Ervin Owens, 44, was arrested by Weber State police and booked into Weber County Jail Wednesday for investigation of misusing public funds, theft by deception and forgery, according to a university spokesman.

Owens began working for the university in September 2008, spokesman John Kowalewski said. When he resigned in November 2017, he was working as the school's superintendent of structural systems, managing the school's carpentry and paint shops.

Owens had not been under investigation at any point during his employment at the school, Kowalewski said. But after he left, the university's review of a credit card turned up purchases for items that couldn't be located at the school, according to Kowalewski.

"The investigation came about as a result of these inventory anomalies that surfaced after his separation from the university," Kowalewski said.

Kowalewski did not provide specific details about the missing items or their value.

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Currently Weber State has a policy that purchases are reviewed monthly, as well as when an employee leaves. Kowalewski said the university doesn't have plans so far to review those policies, but may choose to going forward.

The investigation by Weber State police is ongoing, Kowalewski said, and has been sent to the Weber County Attorney's Office to be screened for potential charges. No charges had been filed as of Friday.

Bail for Owens was set at $12,350, according to jail officials. He bonded out on Wednesday.