Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Ex-worker indicted; refused to return pay


County check was for $6,000 more than owed

By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A West End man who briefly worked at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in November was due $400 for his work, but he walked away with $6,330 after the county auditor's office mistakenly overpaid him.

When he wouldn't give it back, a grand jury indicted him.

Richard Daniel, 50, was charged Monday with two counts of theft for cashing the check, according to court records.

"It's amazing," said Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes. "He knew he wasn't entitled to the money, but he took it anyway."

Mr. Daniel was given two chances to return the money, according to the prosecutor's office. First, an official at the board of elections asked Mr. Daniel to return the money and was told no because it was not his mistake.

Then, an auditor's office official asked him to return it, only to be told he had been robbed and no longer had it.

Mr. Daniel could not be reached for comment. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

If convicted, he could face up to year in jail on each count.

Mr. Rhodes said mistakes do happen in a county with 6,000 employees, but they are rare and usually the person gives the money back.

"If they don't, we will prosecute them," he said.

Mr. Rhodes said individual offices are asked to review the checks they authorize.

That did not happen here, he said.

Julia Stautberg, director of elections, could not be reached for comment.

E-mail sturco@enquirer.com




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