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Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson Receives Ohio Auditor’s First-Annual Public Integrity Award
Auditor Yost presents the first-annual Public Integrity Award to Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson.
Columbus – Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson is the recipient of the Auditor of State’s first-annual Public Integrity Award for an Ohio prosecutor. The award recognizes a sheriff and a prosecutor for their cooperation and contributions to the Auditor’s office.
During a meeting of the Ohio’s Prosecuting Attorneys Association last week, Auditor of State Dave Yost presented Dobson with the award for his “work in upholding the integrity of public institutions.”
Prosecutor Dobson’s office contacted the Auditor of State’s office in July 2014 regarding a theft from the Bowling Green Bobcat Athletic Boosters and the Perrysburg Exempted Village School District. Eric Whitson served as a treasurer for both entities and had been stealing from both for five years.
“The Public Integrity Assurance Team at my office conducted a special audit and investigation, revealing Whitson had stolen almost $182,000 from the Boosters and $480,000 from the School District,” Auditor Yost said.
Dobson’s office prosecuted Whitson, securing a conviction for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, as well as a plea to the top count and a 10-year sentence.
Also, in 2014, the Village of North Baltimore in Wood County contacted the Auditor of State’s office seeking help in reconciling its books to its bank accounts. While doing so, state auditors noted multiple discrepancies, conducted an investigation and special audit and identified more than $79,000 stolen by a village utility clerk, Jayme Benedict.
Dobson prosecuted Benedict and secured a guilty plea to theft in office and ordered her to repay not only the full amount of the theft, but also the village’s special audit costs.
Last month, the Auditor’s office also recognized Madison County Sheriff James Sabin with the 2016 Public Integrity Award. In February, Sheriff Sabin asked for help with an investigation of the Mt. Sterling Village Administrator. Investigators found the suspect wrote a large number of checks from the village account to himself and discovered he was using the village credit card for personal purchases. On July 30, he was indicted by the Madison County grand jury on 30 counts. That audit is ongoing.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.