DCI: Petraline took $10K from Democrats

Former Webster County committee treasurer accused of fraud, misappropriation

Diana Petraline

A former treasurer of the Webster County Democratic Central Committee has been accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the organization over five years.

Diana Petraline, 70, formerly of Fort Dodge, was charged with first-degree theft and first-degree fraudulent practices. She made her initial appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court Monday morning.

According to the criminal complaint, Petraline misappropriated funds belonging to the Webster County Democrats and used those funds for herself and her family, from 2010 through June 2015.

She also allegedly made false entries in the organization’s campaign finance reports from 2010 through November 2015, leading to the fraud charge.

Both charges are Class C felonies.

Webster County Attorney Jennifer Benson said that as a Democrat herself who campaigns in Webster County, her office is not prosecuting the case due to a conflict of interest. The case will be handled by Rob Sand, an Iowa assistant attorney general.

Petraline’s name is on campaign disclosure reports from the Webster County Democrats back to 2003, the earliest year available in the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s digital reporting system.

She is listed as treasurer on the report for 2014, filed January 2015. A report for 2015, filed January 2016 and amended in December 2016 lists Meredith Davis as treasurer.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation, said Communications Director Geoff Greenwood.

The Iowa attorney general’s office cannot provide more information or comment as it is prosecuting the case which is now in court, Greenwood said.

Julia Geopfert, chair of the Webster County committee, said she can’t comment either.

“We are working with law enforcement, and we have no comment,” Geopfert said.

Petraline, who now lives in Ankeny, was released on her own recognizance Monday morning. Her case was sent to Webster County District Court, with an arraignment set for April 3.