COLUMBUS – Trace evidence was left behind after a former Village of Verona employee stole and destroyed data linking her to the theft of utility payments, according to an audit released last week by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“She felt the heat and destroyed the evidence,” Auditor Yost said. “What she missed allowed us to connect some of the dots, but the taxpayers may never know how much money was actually stolen.”
Rhonda Davis served as the village’s Board of Public Affairs clerk during 2009, 2010 and part of 2011, until she was appointed to fiscal officer that May. One of Davis’ responsibilities included preparing and depositing utility funds collected by the village. On June 8, 2011, Davis stole all utility stubs for 2009, 2010 and some for 2011; along with utility reports, village computers and thumb drives containing back-up files.
By reconciling utility billing reports, daily cash receipt journals and remaining utility stubs, as well as comparing customer balance reports, it was determined that Davis failed to deposit $35,889.53 in utility collections into the village bank account. A finding for recovery has been issued against Davis in the amount of $35,889.
Additional findings for recovery against Davis include $5,023 in unauthorized payments to herself and $207 in stolen funds.
On March 25, 2014, Davis pleaded guilty to charges of theft in office and tampering with records. Her sentencing is set for June 10.