handcuffs.adv HS 001.JPG

Handcuffs photographed Tuesday, December 26, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La.

Three public works employees for the City of Zachary made off with almost $10,000 by using municipal credit cards to gas up their personal vehicles, according to a recent Louisiana Legislative Auditor's report.

Michael Brown, a utility metering employee, was arrested but agreed to retire and pay restitution by forfeiting accumulated sick and vacation time, according to the audit and city attorney John Hopewell.

Brown bilked the public out of about $8,500 over four years, while two other public works employees combined for about $1,300, the audit says. They were suspended for 35 days without pay and ordered to pay restitution.

The city, which has recovered all the money it was due, discovered the misappropriation on its own and reported it to Legislative Auditor's Office, Hopewell said.

Public works employees are given Fuelman credit cards to fill up the city's vehicles. The city is now more rigorously enforcing its policies to prevent abuse, Hopewell said.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.