Former Director Misused Public Funds
Special Audit: Columbiana County Drug Task Force
Columbus– A cell phone and wireless plan for the wife of the former Columbiana County Drug Task Force director were paid for with tax dollars, according to a special audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
Columbiana County Sheriff Raymond Stone contacted the Auditor of State's office in November 2012 with concerns regarding the operations of the task force and director Daniel Downard. The allegations included possible misuse of a task force cell phone by the director’s wife and misuse of prepaid cash cards. Sheriff Stone also requested a review of the Confidential Informant Funds.
The Auditor of State’s office initiated a special audit on December 10, 2012, covering the period January 1, 2011 –November 21, 2012. During the period, auditors identified that Downard provided his wife with a task force cell phone and case,and accrued $1,333 in monthly access charges and fees. With the cost of the phone and case, findings for recovery issued against Downard totaled $1,568. Downard repaid the task force during the audit period.
Auditors also tested all transactions made with prepaid cash cards during the period and found that all were supported and for task force operations.
In addition to the finding for recovery, auditors noted that the task force lacked proper accounting practices and procedures. The audit recommends the task force develop procedures that specifically address management of confidential informant funds and cash on hand.
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.