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Callaway County government making progress following embezzlement

Callaway County government making progress following embezzlement

July 17th, 2019 by Quinn Wilson in Local News

Back row from left, Eastern District Commissioner Randall Kleindienst, Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann and Western District Commissioner Roger Fischer meet with, front from left, Callaway County Auditor Karen Rentschler, County Clerk Ronda Miller, County Collector Sarah Gladman, state Senior Auditor Shannon Spicer and state Audit Manager Robyn Vogt.

Photo by Quinn Wilson /News Tribune.

The Callaway County government has made progress to tighten holes in the system that enabled the former county collector to embezzle more than $300,000 from 2016-18, according to the Missouri State Auditor's office.

The commission met Tuesday morning with representatives from the auditor's office to discuss the findings of a 2018 audit of the collector's office. The audit found former county Collector Pamela Oestreich had misappropriated at least $316,758 from the Callaway County Collector's Office.

During the meeting, state audit manager Robyn Vogt went over a draft of an ongoing review of procedural improvements made following the audit. Also present at the meeting were Callaway County commissioners, the current county collector and the county auditor.

The draft will be published by the state auditor's office in the coming months, Vogt said.

Vogt said the commission has implemented new systems of checks and balances to ensure any irregularities with public funds won't go unnoticed again. One new system being implemented would involve the presiding commissioner, Gary Jungermann, to review the county clerk's review of the county assessor's and collector's reports.

"Overall, I think much has been improved, definitely much improved. We have a few (systems) in progress that have only been partially implemented. But overall, I think things have been much improved," Vogt said at the conclusion of the meeting.

"Everyone involved in the report did a great job after we were left with quite a mess," Eastern District Commissioner Randall Kleindienst said.

In March, U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough sentenced Oestreich to 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release during Monday's hearing. The court also ordered Oestreich to pay $379,588 in restitution to the county, which includes approximately $280,000 in direct damages and $99,588 in indirect damages (such as audit expenses) resulting from her theft. Oestreich held the collector's office from 1999-2018.