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Texas Man Admits To Theft, Other Counts for His Role in Invoice Scheme Involving Former Licking County Building Services Director
For Immediate Release
Columbus – A Texas man has admitted to his role in the theft of nearly $193,000 from Licking County, via a scheme involving phony invoices approved for payment by the county’s former building services director, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced Tuesday.
William Crawford, of Frisco, Texas, pleaded guilty Monday to felony counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft, and tampering with records, just before the start of a jury trial in his case in Licking County Common Pleas Court.
Sentencing is scheduled for March.
The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit was contacted by the Licking County Sheriff’s Office in June 2018, with concerns about the dealings of former Licking County Building Services Director Donald Dunston. SIU attorneys were appointed as special prosecutors in the case.
Dunston was fired from his position in May 2018 after questions arose about his potential improper use of a county-issued credit card to purchase fuel for a vehicle not owned by the county. A subsequent review of Dunston’s purchasing activities as building services director uncovered a number of questionable transactions, including payments made to an alleged janitorial service owned by Crawford.
Crawford and Dunston were one-time neighbors in Texas.
SIU ultimately identified six checks totaling $19,203 that were paid to a Texas business, Whirl of Windy, for supplies and services that were not provided to the county. Windy Miller, of Frisco, Texas, owner of the business, was indicted for her role in the case and pleaded guilty in September 2021 to a single felony count of theft.
Miller was sentenced to 10 days in jail, five years of community control, and fined $2,500.
SIU also determined that 109 checks totaling $173,469 were paid to Crawford’s business, Crawford R.A.W. Janitorial, through fake invoices approved by Dunston, knowing that no supplies or equipment were provided to the county.
Dunston was indicted on multiple felony counts (engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft in office, telecommunications fraud, theft, and tampering with records) in October 2021. His case is pending in Licking County Common Pleas Court.
He has already made restitution in the case in the amount of $192,673.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 97 convictions resulting in more than $4.9 million in restitution (see?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 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).
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 Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.
Contact: Marc Kovac