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TRUMBULL COUNTY Clerk resigns in missing-money probe



Published: Thu, September 19, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The probe was prompted by a car dealership complaint.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

and STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- An employee of the Trumbull County Clerk's Office has resigned in the midst of an investigation into missing funds from the title office.

County officials said Brenda Machuzak of Howland resigned Sept. 10. She has not been charged.

Machuzak worked as a file clerk in the title office and was hired July 2001. She earned $10.99 per hour.

The exact amount of money missing won't be known until an audit by the state auditor's office is complete, said Margaret O'Brien, clerk of courts.

Auditors are expected to begin going through the title office's books next week, she said.

"I was told that three or four auditors would be here next week to go through the books," O'Brien said. "I have no idea how long it will take them to do the audit, but we hope it is done soon."

Problems at the title office came to light Aug. 23, when a car dealership complained that it never received a title it paid for by check.

The check had been cashed, O'Brien said.

Investigation

"As soon as the call came in, we began looking into it," O'Brien said. "When we discovered missing money, we contacted the prosecutor, and the prosecutor's office contacted the Ohio State Highway Patrol."

Investigators from OSHP began its investigation last month. The patrol would not comment.

"Shortly after we found out about this, the employee was placed on administrative leave and then she resigned," O'Brien said.

County officials have placed the amount missing at more than $1,000.

Between $700,000 and $800,000 passes through the title department each year, officials say.

sinkovich@vindy.com

siff@vindy.com




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