Hardin County Treasurer’s Office Employee Guilty

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hardin County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today announced an investigation led by her office resulted in a guilty verdict.  A former employee of the Hardin County Treasurer’s Office, Deanna J. Polen, was found guilty of one count of theft in office, seven counts of tampering with records and one count of forgery. 

A special audit, or an audit that targets a specific area of an organization, of the Hardin County Treasurer’s Office revealed that Polen participated in a scheme to steal more than $31,000 in real estate tax payments from local residents. 

 “The Ohio Auditor of State special audit team and our special prosecutor played an important role in this investigation.  Because of their hard work, the person responsible for this crime has been held accountable for their actions,” said Taylor. 

On December 5, 2006, a special audit was initiated in response to a request by various county officials.  On April 26, 2007, James Manken, Assistant Chief Legal Counsel with the State Auditor’s Office, was appointed to lead the criminal prosecution.  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, 2005 to October 18, 2006.

As the state’s chief taxpayer watchdog, Taylor is committed to rooting out fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.  Special audits are an important part of fulfilling this mission.  A special audit targets a specific area of an organization and is initiated to review allegations of fraud or theft.  The Auditor of State’s office is currently conducting 18 special audits throughout the state and is serving as special prosecutor on three cases that resulted from the audits.