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Former Clark County Auditor’s Office Employee Sentenced to 7 years in Prison, Ordered to Make Restitution of $1.8 Million
For Immediate Release
Contact: Marc Kovac
Columbus – A former employee of the Clark County Auditor’s Office was sentenced to 7 years in prison and ordered to repay the $1.8 million in public funds he stole through a phony vendor scheme, Auditor of State Keith Faber said Thursday.
The sentence against Robert M. Vanderhorst was announced during a hearing in Clark County Common Pleas Court Thursday morning, less than a month after he pleaded guilty to felony counts of theft and theft in office.
“If you’re going to steal from the public coffers, you better be prepared for some time behind bars,” Auditor Faber said. “Because local law enforcement, prosecutors, and my office are prepared to ensure justice is served and taxpayer dollars are restored.”
Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll launched an investigation after receiving a tip about a suspicious vendor account that received county payments but had no address, no tax identification number, and no description of work being performed.
Driscoll confirmed an initial $110,000 payment to the suspicious vendor ultimately was deposited into a bank account maintained by Vanderhorst. With assistance from the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the investigation was expanded and confirmed that Vanderhorst, a longtime employee of the Clark County Auditor’s Office, opened a phony vendor bank account, deposited county checks into it, and then transferred those balances into a personal bank account or withdrew cash for his own use.
The thefts totaled more than $1.8 million and occurred from 2005-2021.
In addition to the prison sentence and restitution order, Vanderhorst will serve 18-36 months of post-release control after his release.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 89 convictions resulting in more than $4.8 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.