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Special Audit: Former Pike County Employee Owes $7,300
Columbus – A former Chief Deputy Clerk used court funds as a personal ATM, according to a special audit of the Pike County Clerk of Courts Legal Department released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Unchecked authority combined with opportunity can often spell disaster,” Auditor Yost said. “The Pike County Clerk of Courts office should take steps to ensure that no one has this kind free reign again.”
In January 2014, Pike County Clerk of Courts John Williams contacted the Auditor of State’s office after two employees noticed irregularities involving court receipts and deposits. After review, a special audit was initiated on February 4, 2014.
The audit covered July 1, 2012 – December 30, 2013. During that time, Darla Smith served as the Chief Deputy Clerk. Smith prepared monthly bank reconciliations and processed garnishment checks without any oversight.
Auditors identified that Smith concealed $5,051 in funds received but not deposited. Smith also removed cash from the court, totaling $1,554.
On 13 occasions, Smith cashed personal checks with court funds. One of her checks, totaling $25, bounced and caused a penalty fee of $15. Smith also removed $235 in cash and issued a check from the court to the court in the same amount, resulting in a $470 finding.
Findings for recovery issued against Smith total $7,380. This matter has been referred to the Pike County Prosecutor.
A full copy of this audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 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.