Finding for recovery issued against former Oak Harbor income tax assistant following grand theft conviction

A finding for recovery of $26,489 was issued recently against the former Oak Harbor income tax assistant, who was convicted of stealing from the Ottawa County Village, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.

Jennifer Valentine pleaded guilty in September 2022 to felony counts of grand theft and attempted theft in office after the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) determined she had pocketed tax payments made by residents.

The finding for recovery was included in the audit of Oak Harbor’s finances for 2020 and 2021. A copy of the full audit report is available online via Audit Search.

SIU began its investigation of Valentine after receiving a complaint from village officials. Investigators confirmed payments from 41 taxpayers between Jan. 1, 2019, and April 17, 2019, totaling $7,867 were not deposited into the Village’s bank account.

Valentine was sentenced in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court to two years of intervention in lieu of conviction and ordered to make restitution of $26,489, including $10,122 to the Village for the amount stolen and special audit costs and $16,367 to the Auditor of State’s Office for its costs related to the special audit.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 102 convictions resulting in more than $5 million in restitution. The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).

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