Mayor speaks out after Delhi fraud - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mayor speaks out after Delhi fraud

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(KWWL) -

A former city clerk is now in jail after she allegedly stole thousands of dollars from the city for her personal expenses. Discovery of the fraud came as a shock to the city of Delhi, and even the Mayor. 

Former Delhi City Clerk 42 year-old Angela Billings was arrested by the Delaware County Sheriffs Office on three counts of theft for improper and unauthorized personal purchases with the city credit card.    

Billings had worked for the city for eight years, where she earned the trust of her colleagues. State Auditor Mary Mosiman says it's that trust that she used to her advantage to make nearly 2,000 transactions all with taxpayer dollars. 

Many in Delhi, shocked to learn their city clerk was stealing close to a quarter of a million dollars. 

"Shock, complete shock for me, I mean she seemed like a regular person doing her job," said Grover Goldsmith. 

An investigation by the State Auditor reveals former Delhi City Clerk Angela Billings had been spending city money for her own personal expenses, where she racked up nearly $90,0000. 

Billings spent city money on personal expenses, including Wal-Mart, and a psychic hotline. 

The State Auditor says during the course of her eight years, Billings was using a city credit card to pay for her personal expenses

Delhi Mayor Terry Harbach, and the city of Delhi were aware of other city credit cards, but not of the credit card Billings was using.

"I was amazed that someone who you put your trust in would actually steal money not only from me but all of the rest of the residents in town," said Harbach. 

The investigation details that Billings had also wrote unauthorized checks out to herself in the form of payroll for $70,000. 

Mayor Harbach says he holds some responsibility for the lack of oversight. 

"Partially, yeah, I'm probably a lot to blame," said Harbach. "Other than poor management, there was nothing that the city council did. It's what they didn't do, by not keeping closer tabs on the expenditures and questioning more of the invoices. But she already had it figured out, we never saw the invoices."

Looking at bank statements and implementing payroll approval, are all steps State Auditor Mary Mosiman says would have stopped Billings early on. 

"There's only three points to a fraud triangle the motivation, the rationalization and the opportunity," said Mosiman. "We can't do anything about somebody's motivation or somebody's rationalization, but what we can do is do something to impact the opportunity for fraud to take place in a government entity and that is by providing the basics of oversight by having a second pair of eyes look at the original bank statement."

Mosiman also found the city over-billed sewer customers by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mosiman says the discovery in the investigation raised a red flag, because Billings never properly made an ordinance after the City Council voted on raising the price.

Billings is being held on a $25,000 bail in the Delaware County Jail. 

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