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GREAT FALLS — The former executive director of the Humane Society of Cascade County says he forged the name of another person on a paycheck in February, prompting an audit and a state investigation.

Jan Cahill told the newspaper he forgot to have board members sign checks during a February meeting. He said he was leaving the state the next day and couldn't find a board member to sign his paycheck, so he signed the name of another person on the signature line. He did not say whose name he signed.

"I wasn't thinking," Cahill told the Great Falls Tribune for a story published Thursday. "I did a very stupid thing."

Cahill said he resigned on March 1 and cooperated with the investigation.

"There's no other improprieties," Cahill said.

Jim Donahue, president of the board of directors of the Humane Society of Cascade County, declined to comment on the investigation.

John Strandell, chief of the state's Investigations Bureau, said the society's board of directors was concerned about one transaction and asked authorities to investigate. Strandell said Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards called his office on March 2.

"They had received a complaint about a possible embezzlement" from the society, Strandell said.

Edwards and Great Falls Police Chief Corky Grove decided it would be better for the state to investigate because the county has regular dealings with the humane society.

The amount of the check was not made public.

Strandell said his agency is awaiting the results of an independent audit of the humane society's financial records.

The Humane Society of Cascade County ran the animal shelter from 1992 until 2007, when the Great Falls Police Department took over the work. The society opened an office in late 2009 focusing on providing free pet food to low-income residence and a spay-neuter program.

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