Former Fiscal Officer for Knox County Engineer Pleads Guilty to Theft, Insurance Fraud Charges

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac

Columbus – The former fiscal officer for the Knox County Engineer’s Office pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple criminal charges after he was caught making thousands of dollars in personal purchases using county credit cards, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.

Chester Woods III admitted to felony counts of theft in office and insurance fraud, along with a weapon under disability charge in a separate case. Final sentencing was scheduled for June 9.

In June 2020, the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit received a complaint on its fraud hotline that Woods, a convicted felon, had been fired for using county credit cards for personal purchases.

State auditors determined Woods had improperly purchased tools, auto parts, and painting supplies, at a cost of $9,076. A subsequent investigation by the Ohio Department of Insurance found Woods committed additional fraud, receiving a settlement after submitting a false claim for a damaged tooth, allegedly from a bone fragment in a beef and cheese stick.

The Special Investigations Unit would like to thank Sheriff David Shaffer and the Knox County Sheriff's Office for their assistance in the investigation of this case.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 81 convictions resulting in more than $2.7 million in restitution (Here is a map of SIU Convictions since January 2019). 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.