CIRCLEVILLE — Ohio Auditor Keith Faber released an audit Thursday that issued a $6,787 finding for recovery against Cynthia Barnhill, the former Williamsport village clerk.
Barnhill was placed on community control for five years back in February after she pleaded guilty to a single count of theft two months earlier and ordered to pay that amount. She was originally charged with three offenses.
“My office will not tolerate any public corruption,” Faber said in a release announcing the audit. “We have issued a finding for recovery to ensure this former clerk repays the full amount she stole.”
The auditor said to date, Barnhill has made five, $100 payments to the village, making the balance $6,287.
Barnhill, 67, was responsible for collecting monthly utility payments and new renter deposits, issuing carbon copy receipts, and depositing funds into the village bank account. Barnhill was also responsible for posting utility payments to customer accounts.
Auditors uncovered that from January 2012 through October 2015, applications for 21 new renter accounts indicated that Barnhill collected $5,460 for sewer, water, and gas utility deposits. Based on the utilities at the renters’ addresses, Barnhill should have collected $6,200. Also, Barnhill only deposited $1,156 into the village account after these payments, resulting in a total shortage of $5,044.
Additionally, Barnhill recorded 24 payments to her personal village utility account, but there were no deposits of funds to match these payments.
The total amount of recorded payments by the clerk without a matching deposit was 1,743.
In asking for community control, Barnhill said that she started embezzling the money to support two grandchildren — “to keep their lives as normal as possible — of whom she had custody. Their mother and her daughter died of a drug overdose in July 2013.
She was making $10.50 per hour as a part time village clerk, and relied on that plus state child stipends the grandchildren received. Barnhill said she was unaware that she could have received Social Security on behalf of the children, a Pickaway County Common Pleas document outlines.
In December, Barnhill pled guilty to one count of theft in office. At the sentencing hearing, the judge ordered her to repay the village $6,787.
The village has since received five $100 payments from the Pickaway County Court of Common Pleas Adult Probation Department. The Auditor’s office considers these partial repayments and a balance of $6,287 remains.