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Tue Jan 30, 2018, 04:01 AM

Ex-Geauga County IT director, daughter accused of stealing $1.8 million in public money

CHARDON, Ohio -- Geauga County's former chief technology officer and his daughter are accused of stealing more than $1.8 million in public money through a corruption scheme that played out over an eight-year period, officials said.

Stephen T. Decatur authorized payments from Geauga County to SMCS Tech, a Fairlawn company owned and operated by his daughter Stephanie E. Stewart, and a second vendor from 2010 to 2017. The companies then sent cashier's checks to Decatur, who put the money into his personal account, according to a 334-count indictment filed in Geauga County Common Pleas Court.

A Geauga County judge has also appointed a special prosecutor to investigate how the county auditor's office approved hundreds of transactions without contracts, and whether those approvals violated the state law that requires a bidding process for public contracts worth more than $50,000, Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz and Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand said Monday at a news conference.

"Decatur, as the chief IT guy for the whole county, had all the keys to the kingdom," Hildenbrand said. "[This] affected every one of the offices in the county."

Read more: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/01/ex-geauga_county_it_employee_d.html

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