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Findings for Recovery of $1,630 Issued Against Former Putnam County Veterans Services Officer Over Misappropriated Banner Funds
For immediate release
COLUMBUS – Findings for recovery of $1,630 were issued Tuesday against the former executive director of the Putnam County Veterans Service Commission over funds connected to a military banner program she ran with little or no oversight, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.
The total included $1,263 collected by Kristi Powell but not deposited and $367 in banner cash collections spent for an employee retirement party, which is not a proper public purpose.
Details of the findings are included in a special audit released Tuesday and available online (ohioauditor.gov/auditsearch/search.aspx). Despite substantiated concerns over how the money for the banners was handled, a comprehensive investigation conducted by the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) determined no crimes had been committed.
SIU began investigating the Putnam County Veterans Service Commission after allegations of the inappropriate financial administration of a military banner program, which allowed residents to purchase tribute banners that were displayed publicly.
Powell handled collection of banner funds, the ordering of the banners, and all related transactions, with little or no oversight. SIU determined $1,263 in banner funds that were collected by Powell were not deposited into bank accounts, and $367 in cash banner collections was used for a retirement party.
Putnam County Veterans Service Commissioners serving at the time of the spending are jointly and severally liable for the findings for recovery.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 112 convictions resulting in more than $8.2 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