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Former Village of North Baltimore Utility Clerk Stole $79,123
Columbus – A former Village of North Baltimore (Wood County) utility clerk pocketed $79,123 in cash that she was supposed to deposit into the village’s bank account, according to a special audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“When the records don’t match the bank balances, it’s time to start investigating,” Auditor Yost said. “This clerk took advantage of her position as a public official and used it as an opportunity to cheat the taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars.”
The village contracted with the Auditor of State’s Local Government Services section (LGS) in August 2014 to reconcile its accounting system to its bank account and provide training. While doing so, LGS noted several instances where revenues recorded in the village’s accounting system did not match deposits made to the bank. Village officials met with the Auditor of State’s Special Audit section to discuss the discrepancies, and on November 19, 2014, the Special Audit Task Force initiated a special audit, covering the period January 1, 2010 through September 30, 2014.
Village Utility Clerk Jaimye Benedict was responsible for collecting receipts, preparing batch deposits and depositing funds into the village bank account. On multiple occasions during the audit period, Benedict created cash-only receipt batches, which is outside the village’s prescribed accounting procedures.
The audit identified 1,352 batches totaling $16,537,105 that the village processed during the audit period. Auditors noted that 43 cash-only batches totaling $77,501 were not deposited. Additionally, nine batches had cash portions totaling $1,622 that were not deposited.
A finding for recovery in the amount of $79,123 was issued against Benedict. She was placed on administrative leave effective October 21, 2014, and was terminated from employment on November 12, 2014.
On August 6, 2015, Benedict was indicted on two third-degree felony counts of theft in office. 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.