Former Trimble Fiscal Officer Stole $61,866

Findings for Recovery Issued

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Columbus - The former Village of Trimble fiscal officer stole $61,866 from the village and was issued findings for recovery in 2007-2009 audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.

Former Trimble Fiscal Officer Debra Berry had a set salary of $700 per month. During the audit period, Berry cashed 151 additional checks written to her totaling $61,866. Village council did not approve, and Berry could not otherwise justify, the additional payments. She was issued findings for recovery for this total amount.

A referral was made to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System because the village did not file reports and submit payments in a timely manner. Auditors could not determine the total amount unpaid, and the late payments resulted in late fees and penalties.

During the audit period, there was no evidence that the fiscal officer remitted state tax withholdings, which could result in penalties and interest to the village. Due to a lack of a payroll register, auditors were unable to determine the withholding amount that should have been remitted. This issue was referred to the Ohio Department of Taxation.

On November 4, 2010, the former fiscal officer pled guilty to theft, theft in office, tampering with records, forgery, and securing writings by deception. She was sentenced to four years in prison.

The Village of Trimble, located in Athens County, has a population of 390 (2010 census). As of December 31, 2009, the village had a negative general fund balance of $55,064.

A full copy of this audit can be found online.

The Auditor of State‚Äôs office, one of five independently elected offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 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.

Carrie Bartunek
Press Secretary
(614) 728-7198