Tamara Pierre, a former Lynchburg village administrator who pled guilty in January to stealing $14,000 from the village, will now have to pay more than $2,000 more due to an unrelated “miscalculation” in her separation pay in 2016, officials said.
Pierre, 48, is currently serving a three-year term of community control sanctions for theft by deception, a fourth-degree felony, and has paid the village back in full for the money she stole, according to court documents.
But the state auditor’s office says that Pierre now owes the village $2,215 because she was overpaid for 96 holiday leave hours to which she was not entitled.
“Five of those holidays … would have occurred before her leaving, but Ms. Pierre’s leave balance in the system only indicated that 8 hours of holiday were used during 2016,” said Ohio State Auditor Keith Faber in a letter to the village dated March 12. “The employee manual does not state that an employee can be paid for holidays not worked after resignation or termination from the village.”
As a result, the state auditor’s office has issued a finding for recovery for public monies illegally expended against Pierre, Faber said.
Lynchburg Mayor Terry Burden on Tuesday told The Times-Gazette that it was a “miscalculation” that led to Pierre’s overpayment.
“At the end of her employment, her and the fiscal officer figured up the time that was due her for vacation, days off, sick days, comp time,” the mayor said. “It was a miscalculation on their part, and she was overpaid.”
Burden said it was “not theft or anything like that,” and that the overpayment was not related to Pierre’s theft from the village.
Burden said he did not know how soon Pierre would have to pay.
As previously reported, Judge Rocky Coss in January sentenced Pierre to three years of community control sanctions and 30 days in jail, ordering her to pay the county back for the cost of her incarceration.
Defense attorney J.D. Wagoner, who represented Pierre, said at the time that his client refinanced her home to pay full restitution to the village.
As previously reported, Pierre pled guilty to theft by deception following allegations that she stole from the village during her employment there between 2013 and 2015.
A bill of information filed by the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office on Nov. 19, 2018, says that, “on or about the period of March 1, 2013 and continuing through June 30, 2015 and in Highland County, Ohio, Tamara A. Pierre did with purpose to deprive the owner, Village of Lynchburg, of their property, knowingly obtain or exert control over said property, to wit: $13,915.07 US currency, by deception … a felony of the fourth degree.”
During Pierre’s sentencing hearing, she apologized to village officials and residents of the village.
“I sincerely apologize for my actions,” she said.
Burden, who was present at the hearing, had prepared a victim impact statement, but was never asked to speak.
The statement, which Burden provided to The Times-Gazette, said Pierre “violated the trust of all citizens of the Village of Lynchburg.”
According to Burden’s statement, Pierre used the village’s Walmart and Lowe’s cards to purchase items for herself.
The mayor said the case “is not just about a simple theft.”
“It involves stealing from each and every citizen that lives within the village,” he said in his statement.
Burden said that Pierre admitted to destroying financial statements by burning them in her backyard, then forging new documents to replace those she burned.
“This case involves other crimes committed such as tampering of records/evidence and forgery,” the mayor’s statement alleged. “Council and I do not agree that someone in the position of trust should walk away with simply just paying the funds back that was stolen, but feel Tami should be held completely accountable for her own actions.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.