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Audit Details Fiscal Officer’s Theft from Village of Alexandria
Columbus – A newly-released audit of Alexandria reveals the extent of a theft committed by the village’s former fiscal officer Laura Vanscoy Andrews.
The report released today orders her to repay $201,153 to the Licking County village for checks she wrote to herself, money she stole from deposits and payments that lacked supporting documentation.
“This fiscal officer’s abuse of power was toxic to the Village of Alexandria,” Auditor Yost said. “Her prison sentence is a well-deserved punishment for the seven years she spent ripping off the community.”
Auditors reported that Vanscoy Andrews wrote herself 240 checks totaling $194,914 from 2009 through 2015. To conceal her theft, she disguised the checks as payments to vendors.
Bank records show she stole an additional $3,399 during 2014 and 2015 by shorting deposits. During the same period, she wrote 11 checks worth $2,840 that lacked documentation needed to prove they served a proper public purpose.
There was no evidence that village council monitored financial activity, and the village had no accounting policies in place. The village has since taken steps to strengthen its internal controls, according to the village’s responses to the audit findings.
Vanscoy Andrews pleaded no contest in November to third-degree felony counts of theft in office and tampering with records, and a second-degree misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty. She was found guilty of all three charges and sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay restitution plus court costs.
The village of 530 people was declared “unauditable” in August 2016 after officials failed to supply complete records required for an audit. Today’s audit release signals the village’s removal from the Auditor’s “unauditable” list.
A special report published by Auditor Yost in November highlights the dangers local governments face when financial processes go unchecked. According to the report, more than $3.4 million in payments received by local governments in the past decade never made it into the government accounts.
Since 2011, the Auditor of State’s office has helped secure 165 convictions across the state. An interactive map available here provides information on all of the cases.
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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