VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) -- The former chief Barnes County jailer is accused of illegally transferring money from the jail's commissary fund to himself.

Jason Lang, 32, of Valley City, is charged with misapplication of entrusted funds. His initial court appearance is set for Jan. 22.

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Lang could not be reached for comment Tuesday. "He resigned shortly after all this came about," Sheriff Gene Bjerke said.

The criminal complaint alleges Lang illegally transferred $541 in commissary funds to himself from the Barnes County Correctional Officers Association.

Commissary funds are used to provide goods and services for jail inmates.

Court documents say Bjerke began an investigation after two other jail officers notified him that money was missing from the commissary fund in October and November. He asked for help from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Authorities said Lang's duties as the head Barnes County jailer included putting the commissary funds collected each day in a sealed envelope and securing them in a metal lock box.

Court records say Lang admitted to removing money from the envelopes several times in November. He also allegedly admitted taking money from the commissary funds before that, but said he paid it back.

The charge against Lang is a Class C felony, which carries a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.

Lang's attorney, Roger Weisenburger, said Tuesday he had just been retained in the case and could not comment.

The Barnes County Jail has drawn attention over the past couple of years. Former jailer Moe Gibbs, who worked there for about five months in 2006, was convicted of killing Valley City State University student Mindy Morgenstern and pleaded guilty to assaulting jail inmates. County officials have been discussing the possibility of a new regional jail if money can be found.

Bjerke said he has been the sheriff for about a year and Lang had been working there "a few years."

"Something like this gives us a black eye," Bjerke said, "but we just have to get over it and move on."