By Gene Lehmann
ROFF — Roff town secretary Connie Hilburn, accused by local officials with embezzling money paid to Roff for water services, officially resigned her post Monday evening. Her resignation was accepted by city council members.
Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross alleges Hilburn embezzled approximately $1,000 between July 8 and Aug. 3, 2011, while working as the small community’s secretary.
The crime is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $5,000 and restitution paid, according to court documents.
In an affidavit filed by sheriff’s deputy James C. Kennedy, it is alleged water payment deposits from July 8, July 22, Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, 2011, were missing. The total loss is listed at $4,013. 21. However, most of the deposits were checks and only about $1,000 was paid in cash, officials have said.
The affidavit also states Hilburn first noticed missing funds in July and alerted Roff City Council member Brent Crawford, but no action was taken. The affidavit also alleges Hilburn noticed three additional deposits missing in August 2011.
She wrote a letter to the entire Roff city panel, took responsibility for the missing deposits and offered to take out a personal loan to cover the city’s loss, the document states.
Hilburn voluntarily submitted to a formal interview at the sheriff’s department on Nov. 2, 2011.
The affidavit states Hilburn told investigators she was the only person who received, handled and deposited funds for the Roff Public Works Deparment. She further stated she was the only person to place deposits with Oklahoma Heritage Bank at the night depository. After making the deposits, she told officials should could not say what occurred after that point.
“(Hilburn) stated she could not prove she made the deposits and had no witnesses to support her claim,” the affidavit states.
Lawmen interviewed Oklahoma Heritage Bank Branch Manager Jimmie Bostic Jr., who banker confirmed for investigators the bank did not show Hilburn making deposits on July 8 or Aug. 3, 2011. He confirmed deposits were processed on those dates, but none were from the city of Roff.
Bostic also said as long as he has been employed at the bank, no customer or business has claimed desposited funds as missing.
Last year, Roff water customers were urged to call their respective banks to stop payment on checks used to pay their water bill.
The affidavit states all money received from customers on the dates remains missing, yet none of the checks have been presented to banks for processing.