CANYON COUNTY – Former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak embezzled $236,000 from funds Nampa paid the county for prosecution services, according to an affidavit filed today in 3rd District Court.
Law enforcement officers arrested Bujak on felony grand theft by embezzlement and deception charges today after the completion of a hearing in Bujak's divorce case at the Canyon County Courthouse.
The arrest concluded a 13-month investigation by the Idaho State Police. Bujak bonded out of jail this morning on $5,000 about two hours after his arrest at 9:30 a.m.
Bujak took money between Sept. 2009 and June 2010 from a trust account that recieved payments from Nampa for the prosecution services, according to court documents. He deposited $10,000 multiple times in his personal business account from the trust account.
Bujak and the county set up the prosecution services contract with the city of Nampa in 2009. Bujak told Nampa and county officials that he would use the money from the contract to pay his staff for their work on Nampa non-felony prosecution cases and to pay for other county expenses involved. He said the contract would save the county money.
But the investigation concluded that Bujak began taking money from the trust account in Sept. of 2009, three months after county and city officials signed the contract in June.
Bujak had the contract changed in September 2009 so money from Nampa went to the trust account instead of directly to the county. He said that was necessary to make sure the money was used for the prosecution services and not for other purposes.
Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson helped with the Bujak investigation after Canyon County prosecutors turned it over to him because of a conflict of interest.
State police looked through 35,000 emails during the 13-month investigation.
“We had no idea the complexity of what we were getting into,” Thompson said today at a press conference about the case at the Canyon County Courthouse.
County officials would not comment on the arrest other than in a press release in which county commissioners said they are "gratified to see that our trust, and the trust of the community, in the criminal justice system has been rewarded in this manner." They expressed frustration and anger with Bujak and said "Canyon County is stronger than ever before."
A preliminary hearing for Bujak's case is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 25 before Judge James Peart.
“All this does is validate what we've been saying all along,” Nampa businessman Bob Henry said. Henry sued Bujak and the county last year in an attempt to get financial records for the Nampa contract. “John Bujak started taking money the very first check.”
Bujak resigned as Canyon County prosecutor Sept. 30, 2010, after county officials said he was not able to pay the county about $300,000 he owed for resources used for the Nampa contract. Bujak has said the contract was private and he owes no funds to the county.