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Finding issued after the fact

Restitution made by ex-dog warden

LISBON — The state auditor’s office has issued a finding for recovery of public money stolen by the former Columbiana County dog warden, who has already made restitution.

The finding was included in the routine audit of county finances for 2018, which was released on Tuesday. The auditor’s office assisted in the investigation that resulted in the indictment of Dawn Croft, who was sentenced in July to one year in prison after pleading guilty to theft in office, money laundering and tampering with records.

“Fortunately, because of the coordinated effort between the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office and our Special Investigations Unit, this former employee has repaid the stolen money and will spend time in jail for her crimes,” said state Auditor Keith Faber, in a news release.

According to the auditor’s office, Croft pocketed $26,267 of the $73,927 in dog pound fees and donations received between Jan. 1, 2015, and April 30, 2016. The audit report identified how the thefts occurred:

— 75 duplicate receipts totaling $6,916 were created and not included in any pay-ins or deposit.

— 13 duplicate receipts were prepared for $130 or less than the check amounts.

— 48 checks were deposited with the county treasurer’s office in which $6,655 in cash was substituted for the checks.

— Four undercover agents made a combined $750 in cash donations that were not recorded in any deposits.

— $10,823 was received from 164 people through PayPal and given to Croft in cash, but there were no corresponding receipts or any record of the money being deposited.

— $993 was recorded as being stolen “through other miscellaneous schemes.”

Croft repaid the money prior to being sentenced on July 15, and the auditor’s office considers the finding repaid, so no further legal action will be necessary.

As for the audit itself, county Auditor Nancy Milliken received a clean score, with zero non-compliance citations or recommendations made. There was a single non-compliance citation in the accompanying management letter over minor discrepancies in reporting requirements for federal grants by some of the county departments.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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