Oak Harbor, Ohio audits finally resolve tax theft

Mar 8, 2023 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

The Village of Oak Harbor will finally benefit from a finding for recovery of a $26,489 judgement against Jennifer Valentine, a former village income tax assistant who was convicted of stealing taxpayer funds from the village almost four years ago.

According to Mayor Quinton Babcock, village employees identified suspicious activity in the village’s income tax office in 2019. It was promptly reported to the Ohio Auditor of State, provoking a special investigation.

It was discovered by the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit that payments from 41 taxpayers between Jan. 1 and April 17 in 2019 totaling $7,867 were not deposited in the village bank account.

After a lengthy investigation, Valentine pleaded guilty to theft charges in September 2022.

The process was not officially concluded until this February when the Ohio Auditor of State officially completed its audit, which is now available on the state auditor’s website. Oak Harbor officials are now allowed to submit a claim against the employee’s bond, a type of insurance policy Oak Harbor has on all employees who handle village finances.

Oak Harbor not only will recover the $7,867, but also $2,225 for audit costs. The Ohio Auditor of State also received a court judgement of $16,367 for staff time and resources related to the investigation.

Since 2019, the village has contracted with the Regional Income Tax Agency to administer Oak Harbor’s income taxes.

“This has given the village enhanced security, expertise and assurance of processes that can only be provided by an organization focused on income tax administration,” said Mayor Babcock.

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