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Audit Finds 2 Years’ Worth of Shady Credit Card Charges at Liberty Township
Columbus – Liberty Township in Hardin County failed to detect two years’ worth of suspicious monthly credit card charges that added up to nearly $1,100 in losses by the time they were questioned during a state audit.
The audit, released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost, brought to light dozens of unexplained charges from 2014 and 2015 that officials could not support with documentation.
Credit card statements showed the township was hit with two charges of $14.95 every month during 2014 and all but one month in 2015 from “SB*PLANPLUS” and SB*SAVINGS 2 GO.” Another charge of $16.95 appeared every month from “EASY SAVER.”
An internet search returned numerous consumer complaints of unauthorized credit card charges from the companies.
“It shouldn’t take an audit for officials to notice these shady charges,” Auditor Yost said. “This is a perfect example of why township officials need to scrutinize every charge on their credit card statements before signing off on a payment.”
Auditors issued a $1,092 finding for recovery against the following township administrators because they approved the monthly credit card payments. They repaid the full amount in September.
- Fiscal Officer Angela Hall
- Trustee Jeffrey Acheson
- Trustee Gary Hall
- Trustee Bradley Hays
The report also cites the township for noncompliance stemming from a lack of records to support $12,041 in payments to its credit card company.
“The Fiscal Officer should review all credit card statements prior to payment to ensure that supporting receipts have been provided for each transaction,” auditors wrote.
A special report released by the Auditor’s office in July highlights the risks that local governments face when they fail to institute basic credit card policies.
House Bill 312, introduced in July by State Rep. Kirk Schuring (Canton) and Rep. Dave Greenspan (Westlake) with the support of Auditor Yost, would require local governments to establish credit card policies to protect tax dollars.
In an unrelated finding, auditors issued $647 in findings for recovery against the same four officials and two other employees because they were overpaid for their health insurance reimbursements. They repaid the full amount.
A full copy of this report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.