Oak Harbor: Finding issued against former tax assistant

Larry Limpf

A finding for recovery of $26,489 was issued Tuesday against a former income tax assistant working in the Village of Oak Harbor administration offices and convicted of theft.
The finding for recovery was included in the audit of the village’s finances for 2020 and 2021.
Jennifer Valentine pleaded guilty in September 2022 to felony counts of grand theft and theft in office after the Special Investigations Unit of the Ohio Auditor’s office determined she had stolen tax payments made by residents.
Village officials alerted the state auditor’s office when they became suspicious, triggering the SIU probe.
The SIU was able to confirm payments from 41 taxpayers between Jan. 1, 2019 and April 17, 2019, totaling $7,867 were not deposited into the village’s bank account.
Valentine was sentenced in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court to two years of intervention in lieu of conviction and ordered to pay $10,122 in restitution to the village; $7,867 for the theft amount and $2,255 for the cost of a special audit, and $16,367 to the state auditor’s office for its costs related to the special audit.
Mayor Quinton Babcock said the village will file a claim against Valentine and her bonding company, The Cincinnati Insurance Co., to recover the full amount of stolen money and audit costs.
In late 2019, the village contracted with the Regional Income Tax Agency to administer the village income tax.
“The decision provided the village with enhanced security, expertise and assurance processes that can only be provided by an organization focused on income tax administration,” the mayor said.
The finding by the auditor’s office states: “The income tax assistant recorded the payment in a receipt book with a date, remitter, form of payment, and her signature. She then compiled the payments and provided them to the fiscal office, where a batch report for the deposit would be generated based on the information she entered and money was subsequently taken to the bank by the fiscal office. There were no formal policies or procedures in place documenting the process to be followed for tax receipt collections.”
The village’s full audit is available on the state auditor website.


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