Former Buffalo deputy clerk found guilty of misappropriating more than $42,000
SCOTT Co., Iowa (KWQC) - A former deputy clerk for the city of Buffalo has been convicted of misappropriating more than $42,000 from the town between April 2015 and August 2018.
Court records show a Scott County jury found Riki Ellen Harrington, 47, of Blue Grass, guilty of ongoing criminal conduct and first-degree theft on March 11 following a trial that began March 8.
She will be sentenced on May 6. Ongoing criminal conduct is a Class B felony punishable by 25 years in prison and first-degree theft is a Class C felony punishable by 10 years in prison.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in Scott County District Court, Harrington was a part-time deputy clerk for the city from April 6, 2015, through Aug. 23, 2018.
During that time, she accepted cash payments from citizens and businesses for utility payments, permits, and various other city business.
According to the affidavit, Harrington misappropriated cash payments totaling approximately $42,390.12.
According to a report released in April by Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand:
While the city clerk was preparing for the city’s annual exam, she determined the number of collections recorded for fines received from Scott County in the fiscal year 2018 was about half of the amount received in prior years.
The city clerk contacted the Scott County Clerk of Court and obtained a listing of checks recently issued to the city and the dates they cleared the clerk of court’s bank account.
Using the redemption dates, the city clerk requested detailed deposit information from the city’s bank for selected dates and determined the checks from the Scott County Clerk of Court were deposited in the city’s bank account even though they were not recorded in the city’s accounting system.
The city clerk also determined the amount of cash deposited for the dates of Scott County checks cleared the city’s bank account was less than the amounts of cash collections recorded in the city’s receipt listings.
The city clerk contacted the mayor with the concerns she identified. The mayor reported when he and the mayor pro tem met with Harrington regarding the improperly deposited checks from the Scott County Clerk of Court, she stated she “did not remember.”
Harrington was placed on unpaid administrative leave on Aug. 23, 2018. The mayor also took her keys to City Hall and changed the city’s accounting system’s passwords when she was placed on leave.
Harrington subsequently submitted a letter of resignation effective Aug. 28, 2018. The city council accepted the resignation on Sept. 4, 2018.
The mayor then contacted the police.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Auditor of State were also contacted, according to the report.
Sand said in his report that he identified $42,390.21 of undeposited collections, $773.77 improper disbursements, and $841.52 of unsupported disbursements.
The undeposited collections identified includes:
• $28,039.42 of checks substituted for cash collections recorded in the City’s accounting system but not deposited to the City’s bank account,
• $5,079.13 of payments posted to utility customers’ accounts which were not recorded on the daily receipt listing or deposited to the City’s bank account,
• $3,600 of security deposits for utility services recorded in the City’s accounting system which were not deposited to the City’s bank account, and
• $2,641.00 of city fees recorded in the City’s accounting system which were not deposited to the City’s bank account, according to the report.
Harrington turned herself in on April 13.
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