On March 25, the day Puente asked the sheriff's office about the cash from employees, McFaul resigned from the job he'd had since 1977. State investigators raided his office the next day. The Plain Dealer used to pay scant attention to the sheriff's office. But when Puente got tips that McFaul had laid off 18 deputies while promoting his niece, his son's best friend, and his VFW hall buddy, he wrote about it. Tips flooded in. By talking with workaday sheriff's employees, Puente found questionable practices that had gone unreported and unchallenged for years.