Over $3 million stolen by those watching taxpayer dollars

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - Millions in tax payer dollars stolen by the people trusted to keep that money safe. There’s now a warning from the Ohio State Auditor for the people watching the money and the people watching them.

When you start adding it up, it's more than $3 million in stolen money over the last 10 years. They are tax payers dollars stolen but it turns out everyone can play at least some role in watching the dollars.

It's happening all over Ohio. It’s money stolen from cities, villages and school districts.

"Properly designed controls that are executed well will deter the vast majority of opportunities," said Auditor David Yost. "Things like separating the income and the ‘out-go.’ Basic controls need to happen."

Yost says some of the theft can happen in small places, where only one person watches the money. That calls for others in government to step up.

"Well the mayor didn't run for auditor because the mayor doesn't like math. So maybe they don't even look at the report, they just sign off on it. You've got to learn it. You've got to look at it. It's why they call it work. Without that the tax payers aren't protected," said Yost.

The theft can vary, for example in Lucas County $126,000 stolen from the Lucas County Clerk's office. It's money that adds up across the state and money coming from your pocket.

So the call goes out to managers and supervisors: Don't just sign off on things and give everything a second set of eyes.

Instead of asking for lots of public records, Yost suggests that people ask for something called the bank reconciliation form. It's a document village and city councils should get. If you ask and they don't have one that's a sign of a problem.