Illegal Expenditures Involving Former Village of Rock Creek Administrator Earns Finding for Recovery

Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber’s office today released the 2015-2016 financial audit of the Village of Rock Creek (Ashtabula County) which included a finding for recovery for illegal expenditures totaling $26,083.

“As Village Administrator his responsibility was to make sure the transactions, books, and records were correct and had a duty to report the error in his overpayment – not to stay quiet and keep ill-gotten money,” said Auditor Faber. “Citizens of our communities trust public servants to be respectful and responsible with tax dollars and my office is dedicated to holding them accountable when this kind of abuse occurs.”

Joshua Fleming was the Village Administrator during the period December 15, 2014, through April 6, 2016, and received a wage rate increase effective June 1, 2015, through the end of his employment with the Village on April 6, 2016. The Village erroneously input the wage rate into the Village accounting system resulting in Mr. Fleming receiving twice the amount of the approved rate during this period – a responsibility of Village Fiscal Officer Cynthia Pace. Mr. Fleming did not notify the Village of the accounting error.

An examination of wages received by Mr. Fleming, during the period of review, identified an overpayment of wages totaling $17,015.

As the Village Administrator, Mr. Fleming was responsible for the daily operations of the Village which included making regular purchases for Village operational items. Additionally, Mr. Fleming supervised Village employees who would make purchases or pick up orders placed by Mr. Fleming, as directed by Mr. Fleming.

During the period, the Village issued payments totaling $9,068 to legitimate vendors for goods or services unrelated to Village operations. Invoices signed by Mr. Fleming or his staff on his behalf, signifying receipt of the items totaled $8,859 and $209, respectively.

A finding for recovery was issued against Joshua Fleming for illegal expenditures totaling $9,068 and against Mr. Fleming and Cynthia Pace, jointly and severally, for $17,015 that was inaccurately paid to Mr. Fleming, in favor of the Village of Rock Creek General Fund, in the amount of $4,736, Street Construction, Maintenance and Repair Fund in the amount of $9,545, Water Operating Fund in the amount of $5,318, and Sewer Operating Fund in the amount of $6,484.

A copy of the report is available online.

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