Auditor Faber Marks 100th Conviction for Fraud and Corruption, Calls for Required Reporting and Training of Public Officials

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber called for increased training of government officials and required reporting of instances in which they suspect fraud and corruption in public offices, a day after his Special Investigations Unit (SIU) closed its 100th criminal prosecution.

“In most cases of public officials who lie, cheat, and steal from the public coffers, there are ample warning signs that should have been reported to investigators,” Auditor Faber said. “We want people to be able to spot red flags of potential corruption and fraud and know how to report their suspicions to the appropriate authorities.”

On Wednesday, Christa Williams, the former fiscal officer for the Village of Unionville Center in Union County, was sentenced to 5 years of community control, including required drug court programming, after pleading guilty to felony counts of theft in office and tampering with records. She was also ordered to make restitution of $89,570, which included $8,405 in audit costs.

Williams came to the attention of SIU during the summer of 2020 when, during the course of a regular review of the Village’s finances, auditors had difficulties obtaining records from her. Ultimately, SIU determined checks totaling $81,165 were issued to Williams and her husband for their personal use and not for proper public purposes.

Her sentencing marked the 100th criminal conviction involving SIU since Auditor Faber took office in 2019. Over the past four years, SIU has been involved in bringing 171 criminal charges and issuing $18.3 million in findings for recovery. An interactive online map and a new report detail the public officials involved and their crimes (ohioauditor.gov/publications/docs/SIU_convictions_report.pdf).

Auditor Faber said his office is working with the state lawmakers on fraud legislation to increase SIU’s ability to identify and pursue potential instances of wrongdoing. Initiatives include additional training for public officials to identify red flags and prompt reporting when fraud in public offices is evident.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 100 convictions resulting in $5 million in restitution (see?Map of SIU Convictions? since January 2019). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).

Download photo from the news conference

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac