Former Bookkeeper Owes Nearly $18K for Delays, Missing Revenue
Columbus – A former bookkeeper who was perpetually sluggish in fulfilling her duties owes Jersey Township (Licking County) nearly $18,000, according to a state audit released today.
Auditors made the determination after learning that former Fiscal Officer Beth Croak’s tardiness from 2012 through 2015 cost the township $15,382 in fines and interest from the IRS, in addition to $1,057 from the state.
“Sometimes governments hit speed bumps, but this fiscal officer was stuck at a standstill,” Auditor Yost said. “I encourage Jersey Township’s new fiscal officer to contact my office’s Local Government Services Section for help in maintaining an appropriate pace moving forward.”
Croak, who assumed office in April 2012, waited until February 2016 to start filing employer quarterly federal tax return forms with the IRS for most of 2012 through 2015. When she finally submitted the required documents in April 2016, the township paid the penalties assessed by the revenue service.
Earlier in her term, Croak neglected to transmit $2,000 worth of state income taxes withheld from employees during fiscal year 2013. The township paid that amount, plus penalties and interest, after the state referred the missing payment to the Attorney General for collection.
Croak also had significant delays in her bookkeeping responsibilities, sometimes posting transactions to the township’s accounting ledgers up to nine months after funds were collected. Likewise, some funds were not deposited until the next fiscal year after they were recorded in the township’s ledgers.
Auditors issued a finding for recovery against Croak after they found no evidence that deposits were ever made for revenue from six zoning transactions totaling $795 and one $375 cemetery transaction. Affidavits from two employees who were designated to collect revenue indicated that the funds were turned over to Croak for deposit. In total, auditors issued $17,609 in findings for recovery against Croak.
Auditor Yost placed the township on the “unauditable” list in August 2015 and again this past April after officials were unable to provide auditors with the necessary financial records and data needed to complete audits for the 2013-14 and 2015-16 periods. Today’s audit release signals the township’s removal from the list for the 2013-14 audit period.
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.