Former Jennings County employee must repay stolen funds

Attorney General Curtis Hill is crowing about a legal victory on Friday that he says will help the state hold officials accountable.

Hill’s office says that Cathy Jo Robertson, a former bookkeeper for the Jennings County Clerk’s Office, had sought to avoid paying back public funds demanded by the Office of the Attorney General. In an audit report, the State Board of Accounts determined that Robertson diverted more than $61,000 in public funds for her own use. Robertson had claimed the OAG’s complaint to recover the funds was filed after the statute of limitations had expired.

Robertson’s attorneys said the activity in question occurred from 2009 to 2011 and that the OAG became aware of it from SBOA officials in December of 2014. That being the case, her attorneys claimed, the statute of limitations would have had to begin to run no later than December of 2014.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, however, that the statute of limitations applicable to the OAG in such instances does not begin to run until the OAG receives the final, verified report from the SBOA. In this case, the OAG received the SBOA’s report on Jan. 22, 2016, and filed its complaint against Robertson on May 5, 2017, well within the two-year window.

“Cases arising out of SBOA audits are especially important to the state because their purpose is to protect public funds,” Attorney General Hill said. “The state needs the ability to recoup taxpayer dollars and root out fraud committed by public officials and employees.”