County of San Luis Obispo Courthouse
County of San Luis Obispo Courthouse

Former County Employee Arrested Following Investigation

Author: Administrative Office
Date: 2/21/2024 11:40 AM

Norman Hibble was arrested for misappropriating County funds over a 7-year period.

Former County employee Norman Hibble was arrested this morning in Atascadero and charged with misappropriating County funds. The arrest follows a months-long County investigation and concurrent criminal investigation. County of San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office investigators served a search warrant at Hibble’s home and workspaces in November of last year. This came following an internal County initiated investigation focused on the suspected misuse of County funds for personal purchases. Evidence discovered during the internal investigation was provided to law enforcement leading to the search warrant and arrest.

Hibble is charged with misusing a County credit card to purchase personal items estimated at more than $100,000 over a 7-year period. He will be arraigned this week on felony charges. The employee was fired on January 5th following the County’s internal investigation.  

“We have been working with the Auditor-Controller’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office and will support their efforts to prosecute to the full extent of the law” said County Counsel Rita Neal. “This is a terrible abuse of the trust Mr. Hibble had acquired during his 16 years of employment with the County. He stole taxpayer money.”

"The discovery of this abuse of County funds is difficult for County employees who have dedicated their professional careers to ensure public trust." Said Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector Jim Hamilton. "Despite stringent policies and procedures around the use of County credit cards, we must do better. Since the discovery, an ongoing in-depth review of policies and procedures is being conducted to ensure proper use of credit cards across all County departments. Our commitment with the review is to strengthen oversight and internal controls to ensure the appropriate use of public funds for all County expenditures."

In addition to supporting the criminal case, the County will do all it can to seek restitution of funds through whatever means are legally available, including severing Mr. Hibble’s pension if convicted. 

“The County takes theft of County funds very seriously and we won’t tolerate it from any employee.” Said Acting County Administrative Officer Rebecca Campbell.

Hibble is expected to be arraigned Friday in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court. The District Attorney’s Office is the lead on this investigation and prosecution and any further questions should be directed to Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at (805) 781-5819.