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Former Knox County Engineer’s Office Fiscal Officer Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison, Ordered to Pay $19,861

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac
press@ohioauditor.gov

Columbus – A former fiscal officer for the Knox County Engineer’s Office was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in prison after he was caught making thousands of dollars in personal purchases using a county credit card, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.

Chester Woods III also was ordered to repay $19,861 during his sentencing hearing in Knox County Common Pleas Court. He pleaded guilty in May to felony counts of theft in office and insurance fraud, along with a weapon under disability charge in a separate case.

In June 2020, the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit received a complaint on its fraud hotline that Woods, a convicted felon, had been fired for making personal purchases using a county credit card.

State auditors determined Woods improperly purchased tools, auto parts, and painting supplies, at a cost of $9,076. As part of the investigation, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer's office assisted with the execution of a search warrant that led to the recovery of numerous items illegally purchased with county funds.

A separate investigation by the Ohio Department of Insurance found Woods committed additional fraud, receiving a settlement after submitting a false dental claim.

As part of his sentencing Thursday, Woods was ordered to make restitution of $9,076 to Knox County and $2,000 to Broadspire Insurance, plus pay $8,785 in audit costs.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 81 convictions resulting in more than $2.7 million in restitution (map of SIU convictions since January 2019: ohioauditor.gov/fraud/convictions_map.html). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).

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The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor