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Stolen Callaway County taxes to be repaid

Stolen Callaway County taxes to be repaid

November 20th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News
Pam J. Oestreich

FULTON, Mo. — Taxing entities in Callaway County will soon receive a nice holiday bonus — in the form of money they should have received long ago.

The company that held former County Collector Pam Oestreich's surety bond has agreed to repay the approximately $316,000 in misappropriated funds she admitted to stealing in a September guilty plea.

Ohio Casualty Insurance Company held the bond and agreed to the repayment two weeks ago. Since then, the county has been reviewing paperwork regarding the terms of the repayment.

The funds went missing between Jan. 1, 2016, and March 15, an audit by state Auditor Nicole Galloway's office found. A criminal investigation began after Oestreich resigned suddenly March 12, following Central Bank officials' discovery of suspicious activity in a checking account managed by the county collector.

As part of her plea deal, Oestreich agreed to pay $279,957 in restitution; that amount is separate from the bond payment.

Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said he doubts the county will receive any money.

"We'll file for the restitution as a county," he said. "If it does happen, if she wins the lottery or something, we'll have our hat in the ring."

If received, restitution funds would go toward covering the bill for Galloway's audit of the collector's office.

"They billed us last week, and it was quite the chunk of change," Jungermann said.

County Auditor Karen Rentschler said the state office's fees total $89,208.15. Barring the receipt of restitution money, it will likely be paid for from the county's contingency fund, she added.

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