Former City Clerk Accused of Stealing From Taxpayers
DES MOINES, Iowa– A former city clerk is behind bars tonight charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers. The arrest of Angie Billings comes just hours after the State Auditor’s Office released findings of a special investigation into the city of Delhi.
“It’s a personal insult what she did to myself and the rest of the council members, taking money she wasn’t supposed to have,” said Delhi Mayor Terry Harbach.
The audit found more than $246,000 is missing from city funds. Investigators determined that most of it, $202,012.60, was spent by Billings for personal use. The rest of the money falls into what they describe as
“unsupported disbursements” or questionable purchases that don’t have the proper documentation.
According to the audit, Billings racked up tens of thousands of dollars on the city’s credit card, including:
$16,263.84 at convenience stores,
$13,780.02 at Walmart,
$7,997.99 at various department stores,
$7,822.48 for personal cell phone service,
$7,200.00 for marketing and real estate services for entrepreneurs, and
$5,365.73 at various grocery stores.
$1,798.57 of fees included late fees, finance charges, electronic payment fees, over limit fees, and foreign transaction fees.
State Auditor Mary Mosiman also reported $69,351.29 in payments Billings issued to herself. As part of the investigation, it was also discovered that the city overbilled residents for sewer services over a six year period. At an extra $16 a month, it added up to $256,660.
“Who was watching that? That was my question. I don’t understand how nobody saw that,” said Grover Goldsmith of Delhi.
“It is unfortunate that it happened, absolutely,” said Mosiman.
Mosiman says no matter the dollar amount, officials have a duty to provide the necessary oversight for taxpayer money.
“It’s hard to not want to trust that person and we’re saying trust is fine, trust, but verify. It protects the employee, it protects the employer and it protects the taxpayers,” she said.
“I’m probably a lot to blame,” admitted Harbach.
While the Mayor can’t help but feel some responsibility for what happened, he isn’t the one facing criminal charges.
Billings is in the Delaware County Jail. She is facing three counts of theft and up to 25 years in prison.