COLUMBUS — A former treasurer who paid scammers $60,491 with Madison County Agricultural Society funds finished repaying the entity in March, according to a report by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
Brenda Roseberry was in charge of filing the agricultural society’s tax returns and paying its taxes, but she neglected to perform these duties during her tenure as treasurer. So she had little reason to question the credibility of individuals posing as IRS employees who in September 2014 called demanding payment for back taxes.
“Roseberry is a victim of her own crime,” Auditor Yost said. “Had she performed her fiscal responsibilities in accordance with the law, she may have seen through this smoke screen. Instead, she made herself a perfect target.”
The callers instructed Roseberry to purchase prepaid Green Dot cards and relay the card information over the phone. Roseberry complied, taking $60,491 from the agricultural society’s bank accounts without proper authorization to buy the cards at a local Giant Eagle. Most of the cards were cashed at Walmart stores in Texas, but investigators linked the perpetrators to a network of scammers that funneled the money to India.
Roseberry pleaded guilty on Oct. 2, 2015, to a fifth-degree felony count of failure to file return and pay withholding. She was sentenced the following December to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution, court fees and audit costs. Robert F. Smith of the Auditor’s office served as special prosecutor for the case.
The agricultural society entered into a settlement agreement with Roseberry on May 9, 2016, requiring her to pay restitution for losses that resulted from the scam and tax penalties. At the time of the settlement, she had paid more than $35,800. Roseberry owed an additional $38,000 under the agreement, which she finished paying with a check dated March 30, 2017.
Auditor Yost in June 2016 advised local governments to remain vigilant due to an increase in scams targeting local governments. More information is available on the Auditor of State’s cybersecurity webpage.