(BLOOMINGTON) - Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman was arrested on theft charges after investigators say that during her term as auditor, she made at least $11,101 in personal purchases on her county-issued Visa credit card.
This morning, a special prosecutor Barry Brown charged 43-year-old Gerstman with seven felonies: six counts of theft and one count of official misconduct.
- That on Oct. 16, 2010, she spent $98.38 at CATO women's clothing store.
- That on Nov. 22, 2010, she purchased a Delta Air ticket for personal travel to Key West, Fla., for $532.80.
- That on Nov. 23, 2010, she paid $384.24 to Expedia for hotel accommodations in Key West.
- That on Jan. 7, 2011, she charged her $25 Indiana University Alumni Association membership dues to the county.
- That on Aug. 14, 2011, she paid her children's $1,800 Harmony School tuition through PayPal.
- That on Jan. 26, 2011, she submitted a claim for $2,592.75: $1,097.75 to Expedia for airfare and three nights at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Times Square in addition to $1,495 to Cornell University in New York City for a communications seminar she never attended.
The county commissioners approved and paid that claim, but later learned the charges were not listed on the county credit card statement. Gerstman reimbursed the county for that amount in November 2011, and sent a letter apologizing to taxpayers "for the confusion surrounding the claim and for allowing personal expenditures on the county credit cards."
At the time, Gerstman's balance on that credit card was $2,644.04.
The final count alleges she is guilty of official misconduct because the thefts happened while she was performing her duties as the elected auditor.
A State Board of Accounts audit released in June 2012 revealed the financial irregularities.
"It's not fair to the public," said Mary Hawk, R-Monroe County Council, who requested the State Board of Accounts audit when she suspected misuse. "The auditor is the one supposed to be looking at these dollars and the bills, and we can't trust that to be happening."
Since then, special prosecutor Barry Brown, along with Monroe County Sheriff's Department Detective Jennifer Allen, have spent months reviewing the financial records which led to charges being filed against Gerstman.
The state ordered Gerstman to pay $3,600 for the cost of obtaining copies of 24 county credit card statements needed for the state audit. Current auditor Steve Saulter said Gerstman, his former boss, has repaid $900 of that. The last payment was in April.
Gerstman was elected in November 2008 on a campaign to professionalize the auditor's office and served her entire 4-year term despite the cloud of financial troubles that hung over the office the final year.
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