FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR THE CITY OF HILLIARD PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT INDICTED FOR THEFT IN OFFICE
Posted on 3/1/2018
Defendant: Heather H. Ernst
Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said, “This long time trusted employee abused her position for her own personal financial gain for over four years.” Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announces that the Franklin County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Heather H. Ernst, age 47, for one count of Theft (F-3), one count of Theft in Office (F-3), two counts of Tampering with Records (F-3), and four counts of Filing Incomplete, False and Fraudulent Tax Returns (F-5), for a total of eight counts . Ernst was a Parks and Recreation Department employee for over twenty years and was the Deputy Director for the City of Hilliard Parks and Recreation Department since 2012, and was responsible for the City’s pools. It is alleged that between May 1, 2013 to November 16, 2017, there was in excess of $540,000 in missing funds from money generated from the two city pools. Ernst had complete control of the money collected at the end of each day, which showed discrepancies between the sales at the pools compared to the amount of cash deposited into the City’s bank account. “It is further alleged that Ernst manipulated documents turned into the City’s Finance Department so they matched the cash deposits made to the City’s bank account,” O’Brien stated. During this same time period, records indicate that Ernst deposited large amounts of cash totaling over $270,000 into her personal bank account which were not reported on her tax returns. Arraignment for Ernst is scheduled for Friday, March 16th, 2018 at 1:30 pm in courtroom 2B at 345 S. High Street in downtown Columbus.