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State Audits Critical In Spotting Fraud

Ohio Valley residents have been reminded multiple times during the past few years that it is distressingly easy for a public official to abuse the trust placed in him or her. In both the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio, several local government officials have been charged with and often convicted of taking taxpayers’ money for their own use.

It happened in Wheeling.

This week, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Bill Powell that the city’s former human resources director, Teresa Hudrlik, had pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Hudrlik, 48, used a wide-ranging scheme to defraud taxpayers between June 2016 and March of this year, when she was caught. She has agreed to make restitution of $80,000 to the city.

Some changes in procedures have been made to guard against such crimes, City Manager Robert Herron noted.

But — as has been the case in several other local government corruption cases in our area — it is possible the fraud would not have been spotted had it not been for state auditors.

As we have pointed out in the past, local government officials sometimes complain about having to cover the cost of state-mandated audits. The money could be put to good use elsewhere, they note.

But in both West Virginia and Ohio, state audits have proved their value in catching the corrupt. If anything, perhaps there ought to be more of them.

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