Former Wapak utility clerk charged with theft, tampering




  • In US
  • 2022-12-03 05:01:00Z
  • By The Lima News, Ohio

Dec. 3-WAPAKONETA - A former Wapakoneta utility clerk has been indicted on 15 felony charges stemming from the alleged theft of more than $150,000 from the city, according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

The Attorney General's Office and the Auglaize County Prosecutor's Office jointly announced Friday that Christine Ann Steinke, 48, of St. Marys, was indicted on 13 third-degree felony counts of tampering with records and two second-degree felony counts of theft in office.

The charges stem from a year-long investigation conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation related to discrepancies found by the Wapakoneta Utilities Department after a software upgrade. The investigation revealed that Steinke, during her tenure as a utility clerk from 2009 to 2021, allegedly took portions of customer payments to the utilities department for her own use.

"The year-long investigation initiated by the Wapakoneta Police Department and continued by Ohio BCI involved the gathering and review of thousands of pages of records, which resulted in the indictment against Steinke," Auglaize County Prosecutor Ed Pierce said in a statement. "While numerous businesses and government utility customers payments were involved, those customers did not suffer any direct loss."

Attorney General Dave Yost commented on the arrest, saying that Steinke's position in public service makes the accusation even worse.

"There's no clearer example of abuse of power than stealing from those she serves for her own personal gain," he said in a statement. "The people of Auglaize County deserve better, and we want to ensure that justice prevails."

Steinke had been placed on paid leave from her clerk position in September 2021, resigning her position two months later. She was taken into custody Thursday evening and released on her own recognizance after a bond hearing Friday in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, second-degree felony convictions can result in fines of up to $15,000 and prison sentences of up to eight years, while third-degree felony convictions can result in fines of up to $10,000 and up to 36 months in prison.

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