BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee City Council voted in favor of a request to have the state auditor’s office fraud division look into the alleged theft of funds from the Maumee Municipal Court. At a special meeting on September 30, council voted in favor of the action, which was prompted by a police investigation into a situation involving a Maumee Municipal Court employee who allegedly misappropriated court funds. “It was not my intention to bring this request to council until after the Maumee Police Division had conducted its investigation,” Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said. A public statement released by the court on September 29 forced council to move forward with the request, Carr said. Court deputy clerk Jane Monroe has been placed on administrative unpaid leave while police investigate allegedly fraudulent transactions that date back to August 7, said City Law Director Beth Tischler. While the investigation remains ongoing and no charges have been filed, multiple checks estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars are associated with the investigation thus far, she said. An additional situation involving an unaccounted sum of cash is also being investigated, Tischler said. A local credit union employee raised concern about suspicious checks being written, prompting the police investigation, Tischler said. The court was notified on September 21. “The police are working as fast as they can to get all of the documents they need so they can complete their investigation,” she said. The Lucas County grand jury could hand down theft and tampering with records charges this week, Tischler said. Monroe was hired in 1992. In the September 29 statement from the court, Maumee clerk of court and staff attorney Frank Frey said the discrepancy was discovered quickly and that insurance should cover any potential loss. In addition, he said that the court has requested an independent audit of court accounts while continuing to investigate the situation and will work with Maumee police. Mayor Carr disagrees that the matter was found in a timely manner. “A period of at least 41 days had passed with the court not aware of what was going on and multiple fraudulent checks allegedly written,” he said. If it had happened within the city operations, it would have been known immediately, he said. “If there were appropriate procedures in place such as we have as a city, I can tell you from what I have learned over the past few days that I am absolutely convinced that it would not have taken 41 days and someone from outside our employment (would not be) bringing the attention of the checks to our police, because we would have known instantly through our procedures if such a thing had happened,” he said. Maumee Municipal Court Judge Gary Byers said he is open to having the state conduct an audit; however, he said that a state audit could take longer than a private audit, which he also plans to do through the accounting firm Gilmore, Jasion and Mahler. “We will cooperate and we want to move quickly on this issue,” he said.
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