Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Forensic audit shows embezzlement cost levee district tax payers $81K in IRS penalties; trial for former treasurer delayed again

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By The Madison County Record | Dec 9, 2019

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EDWARDSVILLE – Alleged embezzlement by Wood River Drainage and Levee District treasurer Jamie Butkovich cost $158,109.78, according to a forensic audit. 

Accountant Jeremy Plank confirmed an internal review setting damage at $138,863.76, and found another $19,246.02 in misappropriations. 

About half the total represents Internal Revenue Service penalties and interest. 

Wood River police arrested Butkovich in September 2018, on felony charges that she incurred $45,130.54 in improper debits and withdrawals. 

These included $11,419 at Woodstock Bar, $5,652.50 at Moose Club, $2,658.91 at Argosy casino, and $2,076.82 at Home Depot. 

Butkovich posted $100,000 bond with $10,000 cash. 

Internal review at the levee district revealed phony payroll checks for $11,489.11. 

The review identified $81,380.48 in tax penalties and interest. 

Levee district board members retained Plank for external review, and he found $16,848.74 in debits that the internal review missed. 

He also found another $1,613.52 in payroll checks with Butkovich’s signature only; and $788.76 in reimbursement checks payable to her without substantiation and signed by her only. 

He agreed with the internal review on the amount of tax penalties and interest. 

Plank recommended full review of internal controls, “to determine how such incidents can be prevented and detected in the future.” 

He performed the audit through Forensic Accounting and Consulting Services. 

In the criminal case, state’s attorney Tom Gibbons declared a conflict of interest. 

Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli appointed special prosecutor David Rands of the State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor. 

Tognarelli set trial Nov. 26, 2018, but continued it on a motion from defense counsel Steve Griffin of East Alton. 

Tognarelli set jury trial in January and continued it to April by agreement between Rands and Griffin. 

He delayed it two weeks on a defense motion, and two weeks later he continued it to July by agreement. 

In July he continued it to September by agreement, and in September he continued it to November by agreement. 

In November, by agreement, he continued it to Feb. 3.

  

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Wood River Drainage District

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