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Former Village of Barnesville Fiscal Officer Stole $16,156
Columbus – Former Village of Barnesville (Belmont County) Fiscal Officer Darla Fuller made more than 100 personal expenditures using a village credit card, according to a special audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Village officials weren’t afraid to speak up when they saw the red flags of theft,” Auditor Yost said. “I applaud the village for taking the right steps to prevent further losses and for helping to bring Fuller to justice.”
The village contacted the Auditor of State’s office in December 2014 concerning improper expenditures made by Fiscal Officer Darla Fuller. On February 3, 2015, the Auditor of State’s Special Audit Task Force (SATF) chose to apply special audit procedures during the village’s financial audits of fiscal years 2013 and 2014. During an interview with Fuller and her attorney, Fuller admitted to using the village’s credit card for personal expenditures, issuing village checks to herself for personal use and taking cash received by the village. The SATF considered this information and initiated a special audit on May 18, 2015, covering the period July 28, 2011 to November 3, 2014.
The special audit determined that Fuller made 125 credit card transactions totaling $11,646 that were not for purposes related to village operations. The audit also identified nine non-payroll disbursements issued to Fuller totaling $5,194. Four of these disbursements totaling $3,460 did not have proper supporting documentation and were not for purposes related to village operations.
Auditors examined supporting documentation for revenues collected by the village and identified a fee for one building permit totaling $50 that was collected but never deposited into the village’s bank account. Additionally, 14 contractor licenses totaling $350 were issued, but the fees were not recorded or deposited. The audit also found that Fuller never deposited $200 in cash received from the sale of cemetery lots.
Fuller admitted that she also collected $450 in cash from an income tax payment but never recorded or deposited the payment. She later issued a check from the village’s general checking account to the Village of Barnesville Income Tax to conceal the payment she failed to deposit.
Findings for recovery totaling $16,156 were issued against Fuller. She repaid the full amount of the findings to the village. The village terminated Fuller from employment in November 2014, and on December 9, 2015, she pled guilty to theft in office and attempted tampering with records. She was sentenced to 24 months in prison on January 4, 2016. Her sentence was suspended to three years of community control, with six months in jail and six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center.
The special audit also found that Village Administrator Roger Deal used a village credit card to purchase two bottles of wine and two other gifts from a vendor. A finding for recovery in the amount of $29 was issued against Deal. He repaid the full amount of the finding to the village on June 23, 2015.
A full copy of this special audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.