Clermont County (Ohio) – Following the sudden death of Clermont Senior Services’ Chief Financial Officer in January, the agency uncovered concerning irregularities in the accounting processes, purchases and expense ledgers solely maintained by our longtime CFO. We know many in our community will be shocked and devastated at this news, just as we have been.
Immediately upon this discovery, we disclosed our concerns to board leadership and engaged legal counsel, who subsequently hired a forensic accountant as a third party to investigate our suspicions. After 100+ hours of forensic investigation conducted by the third-party forensic accountant investigator, our leadership team and board were notified by legal counsel that the investigation uncovered evidence of suspected embezzlement by our former CFO.
The misuse of funds occurred over a period spanning from 2010 through 2021, revealing a verified amount of approximately $26,000 of personal item purchases made through Amazon over the 11-year period. Other potential avenues of misuse were checked including possible account transfers and cash, but no evidence was found there was any further misuse. The report further revealed that the former CFO appeared to have acted alone and for his sole personal benefit since the items purchased were personal in nature. Both the forensic accountant and audit firm advised that the way in which the purchases were recorded in journal entries made it undetectable to the auditors and to staff. The agency, however, has taken this opportunity to further strengthen its internal controls to reduce the likelihood of these actions moving forward.
Immediately upon verification from the third-party forensic accountant, a plan of disclosure was put into place and included Clermont Senior Services staff and board leadership meeting with the Clermont County Board of Commissioners, the Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney as the highest level of law enforcement in the County, Williamsburg Township, and other funding entities, followed by area organizations and government entities where the former CFO had ties, as well as with funding sources. Upon disclosure to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, that office referred the matter to the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, but we were advised that they have chosen not to move forward with any further investigation.
Our legal counsel reached out to the attorney for the Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section as soon as we were made aware of their involvement. We are committed to cooperating fully with them, just as we did with the Attorney General’s Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation while they were investigating the matter after a referral from Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office
First and foremost, we want to assure Clermont County taxpayers and all donors that any public funds believed to be misused were immediately made whole from unrestricted funds paid to the agency as management fees, pending the submission of the insurance claim. As a social service organization that uses public dollars to support seniors in our community, again, we want to assure Clermont County taxpayers that we are committed to making certain the tax dollars we have received – every last one of them – are used in support of the mission we have been entrusted to deliver for the care of Clermont County seniors.