| The Repository
CANTON The chief director of the Stark Space Regional Transit Authority has paid $1,107 to settle a discovering for restoration by the Ohio Auditor’s workplace months after his former head of human assets went to jail for embezzling taxpayers’ cash.
It is the results of an investigation that discovered greater than $463,000 stolen from taxpayers by two SARTA workers from 2011 to 2018.
Kirt Conrad paid the $1,107 to SARTA on Oct. 20, in keeping with a report launched Thursday by the Ohio Auditor’s workplace.
The company discovered that seven bank card transactions totaling $1,107 didn’t look like for a correct public goal and that seven lacked correct documentation on who used the cardboard to make the fees.
The Ohio Auditor’s workplace issued a discovering of restoration for 5 of the transactions on Conrad for $919 and for 2 of the transactions totaling $188 on Tammy Brown, SARTA’s present director of human assets.
Conrad mentioned a few of the expenses had been from round 2014 to purchase present playing cards for workers as a part of SARTA’s Halloween social gathering and to purchase present playing cards for riders as a part of promotions.
However nobody documented who received the present playing cards, which Conrad mentioned SARTA coverage didn’t require on the time. And one of many expenses included a $130 money advance payment that the auditor’s workplace discovered to be improper curiosity. Different transactions had been to purchase gas for SARTA buses, however receipts for the purchases received misplaced or workers did not submit them.
Whereas Conrad disputed that the fees had been improper, “At this time limit we felt it was greatest to pay the discovering and transfer on.”
He mentioned he paid the discovering towards him and Brown.
Investigators from the Ohio Auditor’s workplace found the questionable bank card expenses throughout a greater than two-year investigation of SARTA’s funds. The probe led to responsible pleas of grand theft and different felony expenses by two SARTA workers.
Kristy Williams, 38, of Plain Township, SARTA’s director of human assets till 2018, was convicted in Might of aggravated theft, theft in workplace, tampering with data and forgery and insurance coverage fraud. The thefts happened from 2011 to 2018. Stark County Frequent Pleas Choose Frank Forchione sentenced her to 4 years in jail (with an opportunity at early launch) and ordered her to pay $406,594 in restitution.
Brandy Pryor, 42, of Akron, the previous SARTA human assets administrator and an worker from 2013 to 2018, pleaded responsible to grand theft, tampering with data and theft in workplace. Forchione sentenced her to 5 years of probation and 200 hours of group service and ordered her to pay $14,272 in restitution.
Conrad fired each of them after discovering preliminary proof of theft by each. He reported them to police and notified the Ohio Auditor’s workplace. Conrad mentioned he noticed video footage exhibiting Williams stealing $160 in money from an worker’s desk which had been proceeds from non-smoking merchandise bought for the worker wellness program.
The Ohio Auditor’s report went into in depth element about how the 2 stole taxpayers’ cash from SARTA over seven years. Among the many highlights:
- The breakdown of the stolen cash was $40,718 in improper tuition reimbursements ($25,976 by Williams and $14,472 by Pryor) ; $1,244 in disallowed journey bills ($1,044 by Williams and $223 by Pryor) ; $285,111 in inappropriate purchases on SARTA bank cards ($280,937 by Williams and $four,174 by Pryor) ; $113,503 in inappropriate wage as a result of Williams falsely claimed to have a grasp’s diploma for a job that required one; $23,103 in help for fraudulent claims by Williams for incapacity insurance coverage and heating help for low-income folks.
- Each submitted pretend documentation to assert tuition reimbursement from SARTA for faculty courses they didn’t attend.
- Williams was reimbursed for journey bills, together with meals and resort rooms, for work conferences for which there was no report she registered and paid the convention payment. On one journey to New Orleans, investigators discovered that as a substitute of attending a piece convention, she went to see WWE performances.
- On a minimum of a few events, she traveled with members of the family and charged SARTA for resort upgrades.
- Williams and Pryor used a SARTA bank card to purchase a package deal at Kalahari water resort for $280 every throughout a piece convention there in 2017.
- SARTA had as many as 31 bank card accounts, with Williams controlling a few of them.
- Williams used SARTA bank cards to buy $29,485 in PayPal present playing cards from Ceremony-Assist the place the balances had been transferred to her private financial institution accounts. She additionally used SARTA bank cards to purchase present playing cards, meals, drinks, cosmetics and cleansing provides.
The report says Ohio Auditor’s investigators met with Conrad and prime SARTA officers to debate the findings on Oct. 5.
The Ohio Auditor is recommending that SARTA implement tighter monetary controls, higher report protecting and documentation and minimize the variety of bank cards.
Conrad mentioned he is carried out practically all the suggestions. He mentioned it was a time frame he went by way of 5 totally different administrators of finance, and that Williams took benefit of the dearth of oversight.
“When you have a motivated prison who’s prepared to steal from you it doesn’t matter what (controls) you’ve in place,” he mentioned. “They cast transcripts. They cast receipts. Whenever you ask for documentation and it’s defective in itself, that’s a part of the problem.”
Conrad mentioned Williams’ state pension advantages of $57,000 have been utilized towards the loss. He mentioned the Ohio Transit Danger insurance coverage protection will cowl the remaining, minus a $1,000 deductible.
Williams’ legal professional Steven Kandel mentioned, “I suppose that is stuff we acknowledge and we took duty for just like the report says. “There’s lack of inside controls and administration oversight that drew Kristy to her conduct.”
Conrad mentioned in hindsight there ought to have been higher enforcement by him and SARTA officers of insurance policies requiring receipts. However he mentioned with thousands and thousands of flowing by way of SARTA such incidents the place receipts received misplaced had been remoted. And that previous Ohio Auditor audits didn’t flag these points.
“It occurs,” he mentioned, including that SARTA now has solely six bank cards saved in a protected.. “Typically folks don’t flip issues in”
Pryor’s legal professional Jeff Jakmides mentioned, “I’m not taking concern with the auditor’s discovering and we’re going to observe the court docket order simply because it’s ordered by the choose,” he mentioned. “My consumer took duty kind Day 1. She cooperated … She mentioned she was sorry. she acknowledged paying restitution even earlier than she was ordered to take action,”
Attain Repository author Robert Wang at (330) 580-8327 or [email protected] Twitter: @rwangREP.