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Courthouse Theft Results in $17,000 Finding for Recovery
Columbus - A deliberate scheme of issuing then voiding receipts for court fees, fines and other transactions has resulted in a finding for recovery in the amount of $17,222 in a financial audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. Former Defiance County legal department clerk Ann Johns has pled guilty to theft in office before the Defiance County Common Pleas Court and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 10.
“This is no mistake; this is fraud and this is theft,” said Auditor of State Dave Yost. “Sometimes when you are looking under the rocks, what you find is not very appealing.”
Yost said the fraudulent transactions were uncovered during the course of the 2010 audit. Once discovered, the transactions were jointly investigated by the county Sheriff’s Department and the Office of the Auditor of State. Yost commended auditor Tim Meienburg for his initial discovery of the irregularities, and auditors Linda Maag and Steve Flickinger and other staff for their work in completing the investigation.
The conduct charged against Johns included shorting deposits, reversing receipts, reversing deposit-applied receipts, and failing to deposit passport fees and cash collections for restitution on criminal charges that were dismissed from the system. The conduct occurred during the period from Jan. 28, 2009, to June 9, 2011.
Defiance County has a population of 39,000 (39,037, 2010 census). The county General Revenue Fund for 2010 included $10.3 million in revenue and $9.1 million in expenditures.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 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.