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Texas Man Sentenced to Prison for His Role in Invoice Scheme Involving Former Licking County Building Services Director
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – A Texas man was sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday after he admitted his role in stealing nearly $193,000 from Licking County, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.
William Crawford, of Frisco, Texas, pleaded guilty in January to felony counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft, and tampering with records as part of a phony invoice scheme involving former Licking County Building Services Director Donald Dunston.
In addition to Crawford’s sentencing Wednesday in Licking County Common Pleas Court, Dunston pleaded guilty to single counts of attempted engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft in office and three counts of tampering with records, all felonies. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27.
The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was contacted by the Licking County Sheriff’s Office in June 2018, with concerns about Dunston, who was fired from his position in May 2018 after questions arose about his potential improper use of a county-issued credit card to purchase fuel for a vehicle not owned by the county.
A subsequent review of Dunston’s purchasing activities as building services director uncovered numerous questionable transactions, including payments made to a fake janitorial service owned by Crawford.
Crawford and Dunston were one-time neighbors in Texas.
SIU ultimately identified six checks totaling $19,203 that were paid to a Texas business, Whirl of Windy, for supplies and services that were not provided to the county. Windy Miller, of Frisco, Texas, owner of the business, was indicted for her role in the case and pleaded guilty in September 2021 to a single felony count of theft.
Miller was sentenced to 10 days in jail, five years of community control, and fined $2,500.
SIU also determined that 109 checks totaling $173,469 were paid to Crawford’s business, Crawford R.A.W. Janitorial, through fake invoices approved by Dunston, knowing that no supplies or equipment were provided to the county.
Dunston has already made full restitution of the funds stolen and audit costs.
SIU attorneys have served as special prosecutors in the case.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 105 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.
Contact: Marc Kovac