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Former London City Auditor Sentenced to Jail, Probation for Theft in Office
Columbus – Former London City Auditor Nicholas Szabo was sentenced this morning to 28 days in jail and two years of probation following his plea of guilty last month to a fourth-degree felony count of theft in office.
Judge Eamon Costello of the Madison County Common Pleas Court also warned that Szabo could face 18 months in prison if he violates the terms of his probation. Szabo will be granted work release privileges during his jail sentence. He previously paid full restitution to the city.
“There are consequences for those who abuse their positions of trust for personal gain,” Auditor Yost said. “This man clearly thought he was clever enough to sidestep the law without drawing attention. But he wasn’t, and now he’ll answer for his crimes.”
State auditors determined Szabo improperly had his entire health insurance costs paid for by the city. Months after he became city auditor in January of 2016, Szabo provided a payroll clerk an old city ordinance requiring the city to pay all of his health insurance costs. However, City Council had approved a newer ordinance voiding the benefit. Szabo was aware of the change because he handled these matters when he was deputy city auditor.
Szabo also gave an unauthorized pay raise to Debbie Elliott, a former clerk in his office in May, 2016. The raise was caught by the city law director and later voided. Szabo also attempted to get a pay raise for Elliott approved during collective bargaining, but ultimately failed. Then, in December of 2016, Szabo signed a memorandum of understanding giving Elliott a pay raise of 4 percent, even though he was not authorized to do so.
Robert Smith, assistant chief legal counsel for the Auditor of State’s office, acted as special prosecutor in the case.
Since 2011, the Auditor of State’s office has helped secure 165 convictions across the state. An interactive map available here provides information on all of the cases.
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 Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.