The former fair board treasurer was ordered to pay more than $3,500 in fines, costs and reimbursement to the Madison County Agricultural Society for failing to file state income tax returns for the organization.
Brenda Roseberry, 63, of West Jefferson, was also sentenced to two years of probation Tuesday in Madison County Common Pleas Court.
Roseberry pleaded guilty in October to one fifth-degree felony count of failing to file a state income tax return. Roseberry failed to pay about $780 in withheld payroll taxes in October of 2009. Two additional counts of the same charge were dropped.
But the former treasurer of the Madison County Agricultural Society — more commonly known as the fair board — is also accused of withdrawing $60,491 from the organization’s funds in September 2014 after falling victim to a scam.
Roseberry admitted last year to withdrawing the money to pay what she thought were back taxes owed by the board. She said that scammers posing as IRS officials had contacted her by phone and demanded the money in pre-paid Visa cards.
The money was eventually traced to individuals out-of-state who were themselves victims of identity theft. The money likely wound up overseas, Madison County Sheriff James Sabin said.
The incident sparked a wider investigation of the fair board and Roseberry’s actions during her 10-year tenure as treasurer.
Bob Smith, assistant chief legal counsel for the Ohio Auditor of State, was appointed as special prosecutor for the criminal case. Smith did not pursue a theft charge for the withdrawal of the $60,000 because Roseberry had no criminal intent, he said previously.
Because Roseberry was charged with failing to file taxes as opposed to theft, Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello could not order Roseberry to pay restitution toward that $60,000. She was ordered to pay a $500 fine, the cost of prosecution, roughly $1,700 to cover the auditor’s investigation and $1,224.93 to the ag society for the failure to file conviction.
The fair board is suing Roseberry to recoup the withdrawn money, of which Roseberry has paid back about $29,000.
Each withdraw required two signatures. Two checks were signed blank by former board official Les Walters, but Roseberry forged his signature on at least two additional checks, according to the board’s initial complaint.
The civil suit also accuses Roseberry of failing to file the board’s federal tax returns for 10 years, which resulted in the temporary loss of the organization’s nonprofit status and forced it to pay unspecified interest and penalties, for which it also seeks compensation.
In a counter suit, Roseberry accuses board members of failing to supervise her actions and seeks more than $10,000 for two years of unpaid salaries and out-of-pocket expenses including the purchase of office supplies.
The lawsuit is currently slated for a May 2016 jury trial.
Roger Eckelberry and Jacqueline Matthews of the Baker Hostetler law firm in Columbus are representing the fair board in the civil case.
Circleville attorney Michael Hess represents Roseberry in both the civil and criminal cases.
Reach Audrey Ingram at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or on Twitter @Audrey.MP