County clerk embezzlement sentencing highlights need for AP audit tools

Nicholas Rickman, a former clerk for the town of Alpha, Michigan, was recently sentenced to jail for embezzlement.

Local news website Upper Michigan's Source reported that Rickman was given five months in jail in addition to three years of probation for repeated offenses totaling $510. In order to embezzle money from Alpha's funds, he wrote himself as many as 13 fraudulent checks under other council member's names. He has not been charged for all of these incidents.

"This is not just a property crime, it is a crime against the public trust," said Melissa Powell, Iron County prosecutor, as quoted by the source. "Mr. Rickman was the clerk for the Village of Alpha at the time, and it wasn't a one time crime of opportunity, it was a repeated offense."

The Iron Mountain Daily News noted that this is not the first such incident for Alpha. In 2010, another village clerk was sentenced to one year and one day in jail for the embezzlement of up to $100,000 from public funds.

With the help of accounts payable audit solutions, it may be possible for Alpha to avoid such incidents going forward.

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