Recovery audit reveals village clerk-treasurer’s additional embezzlement

The former clerk-treasurer of Oostburg,Wisconsin, is facing additional embezzlement charges three years after he was convicted of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars' worth of village funds, the Sheboygan Press reports.

Kim Simmelink was charged with nine counts of felony theft earlier this month relating to fraudulent payments totaling $68,714. However, a civil lawsuit filed by village attorneys in February alleged that he embezzled $1 million between 1990 and 2003.

In the 2009 case, village officials accused Simmelink of taking advantage of his position as Oostburg's sole full-time employee to misappropriate $109,000 during late 2005 and early 2006. He was subsequently ordered to pay $57,000 in reimbursements to the village, in addition to $48,000 in restitution.

A recovery audit conducted after the 2009 case revealed that Simmelink misappropriated village funds via forged checks and fraudulent invoices from a fictitious business he had created. According to the Sheboygan County District Attorney's Office, additional charges are expected to be filed.

Small enterprises are particularly at risk of embezzlement, as their size makes it difficult to put an adequate system of checks and balances in place. Conducting regular accounts payable audits can help to highlight instances of misappropriation in their early stages.

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