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Former Nelsonville Deputy Auditor Guilty on Additional Counts, Ordered to Repay Another $40,000-plus
For Immediate Release
Columbus – The former deputy auditor of the City of Nelsonville, already in prison on felony convictions after she was caught stealing from the city payroll, was ordered to repay an additional $40,000-plus she admitted pocketing in a separate scheme.
Stephanie Wilson pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court to felony counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft in office. As part of a plea agreement, she was sentenced to 4 years, to be served concurrently with the 4-year, 11-month sentence she began in May 2021, with total restitution ordered in the two cases approaching $300,000.
“Stephanie Wilson was already caught and convicted for stealing from the public coffers,” Auditor of State Keith Faber said. “When our investigators found she had committed additional fraud, we pursued more charges and orders that she repay every last penny she took from the people of Nelsonville.”
Wilson was initially indicted in February 2020, after investigators confirmed she had stolen city funds via payroll schemes that included the creation of fictitious employees and direct deposits into her own accounts.
The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit confirmed Wilson had taken more than $200,000 between January 2012 and February 2020. Wilson pleaded guilty in December 2020 to counts of tampering with records, forgery, telecommunications fraud, and theft in office. She was ultimately sentenced to 59 months in prison and ordered to repay $241,839.31.
In March 2021, before sentencing in the initial case, Wilson was indicted on additional counts after the Special Investigations Unit confirmed13 separate income tax refund checks had been issued to fictitious companies or individuals and deposited into accounts controlled by Wilson. She pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced on Tuesday.
“I’m grateful for the work of all of the investigators,” said Athens County Prosecutor Keller J. Blackburn, noting the work of the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit in uncovering the income tax refund fraud. “Miss Wilson is facing a significant prison term and will need to make significant restitution in order to get out earlier.”
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 79 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.