Thursday, June 22, 2000

Teller charged in county theft

Accused of taking public funds from Butler County Treasurer's Office

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A former employee of the Butler County Treasurer's Office has been accused of stealing more than $1,184 in public funds.

        Nicole Bittinger, who had worked for the treasurer's office for only three months, was indicted Wednesday by a Butler County grand jury on a charge of theft in office.

        A tip from a taxpayer on May 5 prompted the treasurer's office to begin investigating Ms. Bittinger, said Carole Mosketti, the treasurer's administrative assistant. She declined to be more specific.

        Ms. Bittinger, 28, of Hamilton, was fired a week later when the results of the investigation were presented to the county prosecutor's office.

        Ms. Bittinger was still in her probationary period when she was fired. She worked as a teller, taking money from people paying tax bills, Mrs. Mosketti said.

        The treasurer's office has changed no procedures or policies as a result of this incident, she said.

        “Our internal controls worked perfectly,” she said. “As soon as we were aware that there was a problem, we assigned a special audit team to investigate.”

        Theft in office is a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, Ms. Bittinger faces a maximum prison sentence of 18 months.

        Ms. Bittinger could not be reached for comment.


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