OLATHE, Kan. – FOX4 continues to follow developments involving a former Johnson County District Court clerk employee who pled guilty to using over $1 million in district court funds to pay personal expenses.
A story exclusively reported by FOX4 in January.
“We’re just turning a blind eye to this. This is ridiculous,” said 3rd District Commissioner Charlotte O’Hara. “It’s like the county is a dysfunctional family, we’re just not going to talk about this and it will go away, well it’s not going to go away.”
Dawna Kellogg, of Williamsburg, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to wire fraud and subscribing to a false tax return.
For months FOX4 has requested county leaders to speak on the matter, investigation, and any possible new protocols when it comes to the issue of record keeping.
So far, O’Hara is the only commissioner to speak on record.
“It’s a million dollars, over a million dollars, so I haven’t seen the specific amounts, but I do know the clerk of the district court wrote over 500 checks to herself and that this was happening from 2007 to 2017 and no one caught it. This is actually inexcusable and there’s no transparency,” O’Hara said.
She recently has begun pressuring other commissioners and county leaders to adopt a new auditing method. She says this would ensure there is a clearer way to determine if public funds are spent legally and managed correctly.
“This is in the state agency, however it’s under the roof of the county’s building. So, this is happening right under our nose,” said O’Hara. “We need to do something. We need to let the public know that we are being very proactive. That we’re putting safeguards in place so that this will not happen again.”
Prosecutors said Kellogg managed the Johnson County District Court’s accounting department. Investigators said that between January 2007 and June 2017, she stole a total of about $1.1 million from the court.
The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Making false federal income tax returns comes with a potential charge of up to three years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Kellogg will pay $1,135,988.13 in restitution to the district court, $97,886 to the IRS and $20,893 to the State of Kansas to represent the tax loss to the state based on her falsified tax returns from 2013 through 2017.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16.
The topic is expected to be discussed at an upcoming audit committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m.