Image: Brian Krolicki
AP
Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki says he is being targeted for political reasons. He was the first Republican to announce plans to run against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010.
updated 12/3/2008 8:36:10 PM ET 2008-12-04T01:36:10

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki on charges of mismanaging a multibillion-dollar college savings program when he was state treasurer.

The indictments don't allege any money was missing. They include four felony charges, each carrying a possible sentence of up to four years in prison.

Krolicki has said he is being targeted for political reasons. He was the first Republican to announce plans to run against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010.

He said the indictment was the result of "a secretive process" that was unfairly orchestrated by Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

Representatives for Masto and Reid, both Democrats, deny any politics were involved.

"The attorney general has had no conversations with Sen. Reid on this issue," Masto spokeswoman Edie Cartwright said. "And she does not operate this office in a partisan manner."

The indictments followed a 2007 audit of the $3.7 billion Nevada College Savings Program, which helps parents start saving early for their children's college education.

Legislative auditors have said more money was spent on program expenses than they had authorized. They also said money was handled outside the state's accounting system, and the treasurer's office hadn't set up accounting or internal control procedures.

The indictment accuses Krolicki of two counts of misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer and two counts of misappropriation by a treasurer.

His former chief of staff in the treasurer's office, Kathryn Besser, was indicted on two counts: being a principal to misappropriation and falsification of accounts and being a principal to misappropriation by a treasurer.

Krolicki, 47, was state treasurer from 1999 to 2007, when he was sworn in as lieutenant governor.

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