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Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit Honored by National Group for Investigation, Conviction in $1.8 Million Clark County Theft
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the law enforcement division of the office, is being honored by a national group for its investigation of a former employee of the Clark County Auditor’s Office, who was convicted of stealing more than $1.8 million.
SIU is among four offices nationally receiving Excellence in Accountability Awards from the National State Auditors Association (NSAA), which presents four awards annually for innovation and distinction in protecting public resources.
“SIU is working hard every day to find those who lie, cheat, and steal from the public coffers,” Auditor Faber said. “They’re dedicated to promoting transparency and accountability in the use of public funds and exposing fraud and corruption wherever it exists. People across the country are taking notice of their good work. This award is well deserved.”
SIU is receiving NSAA’s Forensic Report Award for its investigation into Robert Vanderhorst, a longtime employee of the Clark County Auditor’s Office.
Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll launched the investigation after receiving a tip from an employee in the county auditor's office about a suspicious vendor account that received county payments but had no address, no tax identification number, and no description of work being performed. SIU ultimately determined Vanderhorst stole more than $1.8 million in public funds over a period of about 16 years using a phony vendor scheme.
Vanderhorst pleaded guilty to felony counts of aggravated theft and theft in office and was sentenced in September 2022 to seven years in prison and ordered to make restitution of more than $1.87 million, including the money he stole and the cost of his prosecution.
Since 2019, SIU has participated in more than 100 convictions of local officials who have misappropriated or otherwise taken advantage of the public trust. The office receives hundreds of tips concerning suspected fraud annually, both through the regular work of state auditors and our fraud hotline (866-372-8364).
SIU brings together expertise in forensic auditing and fraud investigation, alongside attorneys who focus on fraud and white-collar crimes, to thoroughly investigate each of these tips and determine whether further action is warranted.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 108 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