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Finding for Recovery, Partially Repaid Under Audit, Issued Against Former Licking Heights School District Employee
For Immediate Release
Contact: Marc Kovac
Columbus – A finding for recovery was issued against a former Licking Heights Local Schools dispatcher and secretary convicted of stealing money meant to cover criminal background checks of District employees, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced Thursday.
Jennifer Peters-Ryan pleaded guilty in January 2022 in Licking County Common Pleas Court to a felony count of theft in office and was sentenced to five days in jail and two years of community control and ordered to make restitution.
As a dispatcher in the Licking Heights Local Schools Transportation Department and, later, as a secretary in human resources and curriculum, Peters-Ryan was responsible for collecting payments and processing fingerprints for criminal background checks for the District.
From April 2014 through January 2017, state auditors determined she failed to deposit $7,172 in cash and $4,625 in checks she had collected for fingerprinting fees.
Peters-Ryan repaid $8,607, as ordered by Licking County Common Pleas Court. That total included the $7,172 in missing cash payments, plus $1,435 in audit fees. The Auditor of State’s Office on Thursday issued findings for recovery totaling $13,232, with an unpaid balance $4,625 in stale checks.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 81 convictions resulting in more than $2.7 million in restitution (Map of SIU Convictions Since January 2019: https://ohioauditor.gov/fraud/convictions_map.html). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.