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Dover Mayor indicted on 15 criminal counts after pocketing $9,295 in payments for performing wedding ceremonies
For Immediate Release
(614) 644-1111Columbus – The Tuscarawas County Grand Jury has indicted Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen on 15 criminal counts for allegedly pocketing wedding fees that should have been directed to the city, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced Friday.
Homrighausen is facing one count of theft in office, a third-degree felony; one count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, a fourth-degree felony; six counts of filing incomplete, false, and fraudulent returns, all fifth-degree felonies; four counts of soliciting improper compensation, all first-degree misdemeanors; two counts of dereliction of duty, both second-decree misdemeanors; and one count of representation by a public official or employee, a first-degree misdemeanor.
The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit opened an investigation into Homrighausen after receiving an anonymous complaint alleging his improper acceptance of gratuities for conducting weddings as the city’s elected mayor, among other potential wrongdoing. The investigation was conducted with assistance from the Ohio Ethics Commission. Members of the Dover City Council also investigated alleged “illegal and improper” activities by the mayor.
State auditors determined Homrighausen performed 231 marriages between January 2014 and May 2021 and received payments totaling $9,295 in cash and checks that he failed to remit to the city.
(Separately, the 2020 audit of Dover’s finances noted, “The city has no policies or ordinances on the books to establish the proper procedures for depositing and accounting for wedding fees.”)
The Special Investigations Unit also determined that the mayor failed to claim wedding fees on federal, state, and local tax returns; failed to declare the payments on ethics financial disclosure forms; and interviewed and hired his son for a city job in violation of state nepotism laws.
In addition to the criminal charges, the Special Investigations Unit has recommended that Homrighausen be ordered to reimburse the city for the $9,295 in marriage ceremony payments and $3,956.50 for the costs of the state audit.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 75 convictions resulting in nearly $2.7 million in restitution (Map of SIU Convictions Since January 2019: https://ohioauditor.gov/fraud/convictions_map.html). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.