Investigation Results in Indictment of Employee of Hardin County Treasurer’s Office

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hardin County -

State Auditor Mary Taylor says an investigation spearheaded by her office has resulted in a nine count indictment against a former employee of the Hardin County Treasurer’s Office. The indictment was handed down in the Hardin County Court of Common Pleas.

Investigators allege that Deanna J. Polen, an employee of the Hardin County Treasurer’s Office, was participating in a scheme to bilk more than $30,000 in real estate tax payments from local residents. Polen was indicted on one count of theft in office, seven counts of tampering with records and one count of forgery.

On December 5, 2006, a special audit was initiated in response to a request by various county officials. Since that time, auditors have worked with local authorities to unravel Polen’s alleged scheme. On April 25, 2007, James Manken, Assistant Chief Legal Counsel with the State Auditor’s Office, was appointed to lead the criminal prosecution.

“Assisting with the prosecution of individuals alleged to have defrauded local taxpayers is just one of many services my office is able to provide to local authorities,” Taylor said. “The State Auditor’s Office is fully equipped with the financial expertise to aid local authorities in the investigation of public corruption.”

Investigators say Polen managed a cash drawer in the treasurer’s office and was responsible for accepting real estate tax payments from county residents. She is alleged to have altered and falsified county records in an effort to pocket cash payments from July 2, 2004 to October 10, 2006, when she was placed on administrative leave. Auditors are still assessing exactly how much cash Polen is alleged to have stolen, but say the current tally is over $30,000.

Manken has served as a special prosecutor in the investigation of allegations of theft or fraud within several public entities across the state, including:

• Northern Ohio Rural Water in Huron County.
• Cambridge City School District in Guernsey County.
• Village of Beaverdam in Allen County.
• Village of Port Williams in Clinton County.

The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation.  The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).

For more information, please contact Steve Faulkner at 614-644-1111.