Over $287,000 in Vinton Township Funds Stolen and Abused Leads to Arraignment of Former Fiscal Officer
Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber’s Special Investigations Unit announced the arraignment of Vinton Township Fiscal Officer CY (name changed from Cyril Vierstra in 2017) following an indictment on 13 counts including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F-1), theft in office (F-3), telecommunications fraud (F-2), theft (F-3), dereliction of duty (M-2), and eight counts of tampering with records (F-3).
“While these funds may have been used to help his wildlife center, you can’t just run wild with tax payers dollars,” said Auditor Faber. “These actions damaged public trust, disrespected the community, and benefited no one but himself.
The investigation and audit originated with a complaint on July 9, 2020 after Vinton County Auditor, Cindy Waugh, was informed of insufficient funds in the Township’s account and found various questionable charges to Township debit and credit cards assigned to fiscal officer, CY.
The subsequent audit and investigation determined that between January 2016 and July 2020, CY used the township debit and credit cards, and issued checks on the township bank account for expenditures for his personal benefit, renovations to his residence, and a non-profit wildlife refuge he operates known as Union Ridge Wildlife Center (URWC). The investigation further uncovered evidence that CY created and uttered numerous false records, including invoices, billing slips, and other purchase and payment documents, along with falsifying copies of township trustee minutes, in an effort to disguise the true nature and purpose of various personal expenditures. Those false and fictitious records were provided by CY to the IPA as supporting documentation for certain questioned expenditures during the 2018-2019 financial audit of Vinton Township.
The audit identified $287,565.11 in financial losses attributable to theft by CY. In addition, costs incurred by the Auditor of State for the Special Audit currently are at $30,471.20, and will continue to increase until the audit is closed. (NOTE: Due to the size and annual budget of the township audit costs to be assessed are “capped” at $4,500; to date the township has been billed $2,111.50.)
CY was indicted on Friday and arraigned on Monday where he plead not guilty. He was released on bond and awaits a pretrial.