Former Smithfield Employee Owes an Additional $18,126
Columbus – The amount of misspent tax dollars continues to climb at the Village of Smithfield (Jefferson County), where the latest financial review by the state found a former employee overpaid herself by $18,126.
A report released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost contains a finding for recovery issued against former clerk/treasurer Deborah Coconougher for writing checks to herself that exceeded her approved salary by $9,138 in 2014 and $8,988 in 2015.
In the previous report released this past month, auditors issued an $11,755 finding for recovery against Coconougher for prior overpayments. She has yet to repay any of the combined $29,881 owed to the village.
“Ms. Coconougher is in for a rude awakening if she thinks she’s off the hook,” Auditor Yost said. “The state and its taxpayers do not take lightly to $30,000 in misspending.”
The report released today also includes two noncompliance citations resulting from the village’s failure to pay $50,748 in federal income taxes and $8,701 in state income taxes withheld from employees during the review period. The Auditor’s office will refer the matters to the IRS and Office of the Ohio Treasurer.
Coconougher was sentenced on April 26 to two years of probation and ordered to complete 160 hours of community service following her conviction on one count of attempted failure to remit state income taxes, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Village officials failed to maintain financial records for the fourth straight period, forcing the Auditor’s Local Government Services (LGS) section to once again construct them based on bank statements. The village has spent the past five years on the Auditor’s “unauditable” list and was placed in fiscal emergency on Feb. 19, 2015.
A full copy of this report is available online.
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.
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