`

Ex-Indy bond bank employees charged with theft of nearly $400K in public funds

July 23, 2018

Two former Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank employees have been charged with theft and insurance fraud by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office after being accused of taking funds totaling nearly $400,000 from the bond bank.

Jacqueline Fitzgerald, 54, is charged with six counts of theft and two counts of insurance fraud, and Monica Durrett, 56, is charged with five counts of theft and one count of insurance fraud. While employed at the bond bank, the employees are believed to have claimed inappropriate benefit leave payouts and carried insurance on ineligible dependents. Fitzgerald also allegedly received unauthorized bonuses and incentive pay.

The prosecutor’s investigation was completed with assistance by the Indiana State Board of Accounts. It began in June 2017 after Sarah Riordan, executive director of the bond bank, reported suspected employee theft.

“Unfortunately, we find that there are those who seek to take advantage of their employers in every occupation,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a press release. “We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting bad actors in any field, but particularly those in public employment in order to hold accountability on behalf of residents and protect the integrity of public offices.”

The bond bank is the debt-issuing and capital-financing arm of the city of Indianapolis and related entities. It oversees a debt portfolio in the billions of dollars. It also uses its financial muscle to help attract and support major development projects.

Fitzgerald and Durrett were fired from the bond bank in June 2017 after some of their alleged actions were discovered.

At the time of her termination, Fitzgerald was the only employee in the bond bank’s human resources department, according to the charging affidavit. She was responsible for handling the bond bank corporation’s payroll and benefit leave, as well as health insurance and retirement benefits. She also prepared checks for accounts payable.

Both former employees had enrolled grandchildren in their employer-provided health insurance despite not being legal guardians of those children, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Fitzgerald was allegedly paid $170,000 during her last year of employment despite her annual salary being $57,523. She also arranged to be regularly paid for dozens of hours of benefit leave in addition to her normal paycheck.

Durrett also allegedly received inappropriate benefit leave pay.

Ralph Staples, an attorney for Durrett, could not be immediately reached. Fitzgerald’s attorney, Jesse Sanchez, was not available for comment.

In a statement from Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office, the bond bank said it will “pursue all available remedies to recover” the losses, which impact the bond bank’s internal operational budgeted funds but not bond proceeds or debt service payments.

“Upon taking office, Mayor Hogsett made clear to all agencies working in and with city government that identifying waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars is a top priority and those responsible should be held accountable,” Riordan said in a press release. “After discovering evidence indicating a possible decade-long effort by two individuals to fleece taxpayers, our office immediately reported it to law enforcement and has fully cooperated with this investigation.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Hayleigh Colombo