Investigators obtain phone records in continued search for North Fork Area Transit GM
MADISON, Neb. -- Investigators are seeking phone records for a nearly nine-month period as they continue to search for the former general manager of North Fork Area Transit accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office sought a search warrant for 31-year-old Jeffrey Stewart's cell phone on Dec. 19, with official paperwork officially filed in Madison County District Court on Dec. 28.
Investigators sought billing information, as well as texts, voicemails, call history, and incoming and outgoing cell tower records for Stewart's AT&T device from Apr. 1 to Dec. 19 of last year, with investigators receiving the requested phone records on Dec. 23.
The phone number included in the affidavit had an Idaho area code. Stewart's most recent known employment prior to joining North Fork Area Transit was with Durham School Services in Boise, Idaho.
Attempts by News Channel Nebraska over the past two weeks to reach out to Stewart's previous employers have gone unanswered.
In the court-filed affidavit, investigators stated the warrant could also help identify any potential witnesses or co-conspirators.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office investigator also stated that he believed Stewart had left the country and that he knew a felony warrant was out for his arrest. Documents also noted that people claiming to be members of Stewart's family were observed moving items out of Stewart's known residence.
The warrant came during the same week that investigators served a warrant for Stewart's Norfolk home, during which they retrieved 12 bags of documents and one flash drive.
Initial court documents stated that Stewart was accused of embezzling approximately $740,000, though documents in the search warrant estimate that Stewart made a total of $750,000 to $1,000,000 worth of unauthorized transactions.
Court documents allege that Stewart used a company credit card for flights, purchases at casinos, meals at area restaurants, home goods, podcast services and more. His card has since been frozen.
Last month, the Norfolk City Council met in an emergency session to discuss paying $88,155.59 to North Fork Area Transit in order to make payroll.
According to North Fork Area Transit’s legal counsel, there was no cash on hand to handle financial obligations, in this case, payroll. The payroll was due the day the emergency meeting was held, requiring city funding to meet their needs.
The Madison County Commissioners said during their December meeting that they would perform an audit on North Fork Area Transit in 2023 before making a decision on any future relationships with the transit operation. The topic was not up for discussion during Wednesday's most recent commissioners' meeting.
The North Fork Area Transit Board of Directors announced last month that it would be "reviewing operations, systems, and management of all services," while noting that it would be "engaging outside assistance for a financial audit and operations/management assistance from the Nebraska State Mobility Management Team."