Join the mailing list to receive AOS Press Releases.Subscribe Now
Former Vinton Township Fiscal Officer Sentenced to 4 years, 11 months in Prison, Ordered to Make Restitution of $339,717.86
For Immediate Release
Columbus – The former fiscal officer for Vinton Township in Vinton County, who stole more than $287,500 in public funds to pay for personal expenses, including costs associated with a roadside zoo he operated, was sentenced to 4 years, 11 months in prison Monday, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.
Cyril S. Vierstra, of Wilkesville, who legally changed his name to “CY” in 2017, also was ordered to pay $339,717.86 in restitution during a sentencing hearing in Vinton County Common Pleas Court. The total includes funds that were stolen and audit costs.
“These public funds should have gone to roads, fire and police protection, and other services taxpayers rely on, not for a twisty slide for someone’s pet primates,” Auditor Faber said, noting one of the improper purchases made with misappropriated funds.
“CY” Vierstra pleaded guilty in October to felony counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft in office, and tampering with records, plus a misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty, after the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) determined he had used Township debit and credit cards and checks between January 2016 and July 2020 to fund renovations to his residence and for expenses at the Union Ridge Wildlife Center, a nonprofit wildlife refuge he operated.
He created fake invoices, billing slips, and other fraudulent documents to hide the activities.
SIU, which also served as special prosecutor in the case, identified $287,565.11 in township funds that were stolen, plus more than $18,000 in interest and fees owed to the Internal Revenue Service for unremitted tax withholdings attributable to “CY” Vierstra. The township paid $11,036.63 of the IRS interest and fees, with $7,682.49 still outstanding.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 102 convictions resulting in more than $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).
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 Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.