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Placer DA raises estimate on how much lost in alleged campaign theft

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A filing with the Placer County elections division indicates District Attorney Scott Owens believes his treasurer was taking several illegal dips into the campaign cookie jar. A legal cloud has been hanging over former supervisor’s aide Brian Jagger since December after he was arrested on a charge of grand theft. But Owens, who became district attorney this year, didn’t file charges. Instead the case was referred to the U.S. Justice Department. Owens said Monday that he has heard nothing new about the case and was waiting to hear from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He declined to comment further. Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Horwood said that she would be unable to confirm or deny whether it was investigating the case or not. Phone and e-mail requests for comment went unanswered Monday by Jagger. Since the allegations were made public, elections division documents show Owens has assumed the treasurer’s post for his campaign. Jagger’s contract as a district aide for Supervisor Kirk Uhler was not renewed and the Board of Supervisors has since voted to approve former Rocky Rockholm district aide Linda Brown as a replacement to the $95,200-a-year job. Owens’ first filing on campaign finances from the election he won in June after no one ran against him cover the period after the election win from last July to the end of 2010. With no category to describe expenditures totaling $21,390, Owens simply states they are “fraudulent activity” and attributes them to Jagger. While no dates are attached to any of the fraudulent removal of campaign funds Owens alleges in the elections division filings, he lists a total of 15 different actions over the six-month period totaling $21,390. The figures, filed Jan. 28, indicate that Owens feels thefts from the campaign account are higher than he initially estimated in late December, when an initial figure of $15,000 was quoted. For Jagger, whose job with the county is now over, it’s unknown what is next. Jagger, 33, had served as treasurer in a successful campaign for a popular district attorney candidate. At the same time, he was serving as a high-profile district aide. With the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, a blog posted by Jagger said he served as vice-president of Ignite, a division of the chamber whose members were considered the “next-generation” leaders. Jagger had also used the blogosphere to chronicle his effort to shed some of the 316 pounds he had weighed before gastric bypass surgery. The 1996 Placer High grad had dropped to as low as the 170 pounds. At that point he was blogging that he wanted to become a personal trainer and run his first 5K road race. Jagger now faces a possible court battle to attempt to clear his name and Owens – through his January filing – has provided a clearer idea of how the prosecution may proceed.