The former city clerk of Greenville, Pam Birmingham, was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in prison and ordered to repay $168,957 to the city after being convicted on a charge of receiving stolen property.
A 2018 audit by State Auditor Nicole Galloway found improperly cashed checks, missing cash, and improper payroll and other payments during a time when Pamela S. Birmingham handled finances for the town of less than 500 in Wayne County in southeast Missouri.
“I’m proud the forensic accounting done by my office’s auditors provided the key evidence in obtaining justice for the residents of Greenville,” Auditor Galloway said. “It’s also important to note our follow-up to the original audit showed city officials had made many of the changes we recommended to better protect taxpayer resources and restore public trust.
The 2018 audit showed that nearly $70,000 collected for utility and municipal court payments were not deposited in city bank accounts from Jan. 1, 2014, through April 14, 2016, and only $2 in cash was deposited into city utility accounts during this period.
Additionally, $39,000 in checks issued from various city accounts and made payable to the City of Greenville were improperly cashed, endorsed, or negotiated by the former clerk. The former clerk provided falsified records to the board to conceal almost $26,000 of improper payments and make it appear some of the checks were appropriate. There were also frequent transfers between banks accounts to conceal account shortages.
Auditor’s identified approximately $44,000 in overpayments on checks issued to the former City Clerk and cash withdrawals made for the payment of wages that were inconsistent with timesheets and past city records and practices. The former clerk received an increased rate of pay without documented approval from the board of aldermen and received excess compensation when she appeared to have been out of state and not at work. Other improper payments to the former clerk included $3,000 in improper uniform allowances and $5,000 in reimbursement checks and cash withdrawals with no supporting documentation.
A criminal investigation revealed the former city clerk deposited many of the checks written to herself from the city, cash, and other unrelated checks into a personal bank account and spent $62,416 from this account on various personal items.
“Audits can, and do, get results. The sentence in this case and the actions by Greenville officials on our recommendations demonstrate that,” Auditor Galloway said.
The State Auditor’s Office worked with law enforcement and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office on the criminal investigation and prosecution.