Press Release Ohio Auditor of State

Former Mt. Sterling Village Administrator Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Monday, March 6, 2017

Columbus – Former Mt. Sterling Village Administrator Joseph A. Johnson today was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing from his Madison County community. Johnson was indicted in July on 30 counts stemming from his misuse of village credit cards to purchase vehicles, automotive equipment and other miscellaneous items.

Under a plea agreement, Johnson pleaded guilty to seven felonies, including one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (a first-degree felony) and two counts each of theft in office, money laundering and tampering with records (all third-degree felonies).

“Joe Johnson used Mt. Sterling’s credit cards like a personal slush fund. The scale of his financial abuse is hard to comprehend, but it’s even more staggering when you consider the financial resources of a village,” Auditor of State Dave Yost said. “Today, the people of the village can be relieved that justice has been served.” 

In addition to the prison sentence, Madison County Common Pleas Court Judge Eamon Costello ordered Johnson to make restitution in the amount of $724,239 and up to $43,460 to cover the costs of financial audits. Johnson forfeited his Jackson County property at 3203 Camba Rd., in the city of Jackson. He also forfeited the property seized when a search warrant was executed on July 19, including a number of vehicles.

Johnson faced a maximum of 29 years in prison, according to Robert Smith, special prosecutor in the case and an assistant legal counsel for Auditor of State Yost. Dennis Graul, an investigator for Auditor Yost, led the investigation.


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 Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.

Benjamin Marrison
Director of Communications