Auditor: Lincoln Heights Village manager stole more than $67K for trips, shopping

Auditor: Lincoln Heights Village manager stole more than $67K for trips, shopping

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted the former village manager of Lincoln Heights for theft in office after her alleged misuse of a village credit card and other funds totaling more than $67,000.

Rebecca Hopkins was indicted on three counts, including theft in office, tampering with records and unauthorized use of a credit card.

Auditor of State Dave Yost said his investigation uncovered Hopkins had used the credit card on Kings Island expenses, purchases, meals at restaurants, trips to Key West, Pigeon Forge and New York City, personal utility and cellular phone bills, purchases at retail stores and vehicle repairs.

Village Solicitor Deepak Desai told FOX19 NOW Hopkins didn’t attend a hearing as part of her removal process and was removed from office by village charter.

Desai said she did a lot of for the village in the time she was at the helm and created a $100,000 surplus for the village. She also successfully negotiated a law enforcement services contract with the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office and fire services with Woodlawn.

“We didn’t see it coming and its shocking,” Desai said.

The sheriff’s office worked with Yost in identifying nearly $61,200 in unauthorized credit card purchases made with village credit cards by Hopkins between Oct. 2016 and June 2018.

She was also reimbursed nearly $6,000 in non-payroll checks from the village that lacked proper documentation, according to the investigation.

“Our team, in partnership with the Hamilton County sheriff and prosecutor, was able to determine the magnitude of the theft and force this woman to face the music for her misdeeds,” Yost said in a news release. “Abuse of government credit cards is a problem we’ve seen for years, and the reason why we pushed the Legislature to pass new laws to tighten controls over their use.”

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