GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF)– The people of Grovetown got answers to questions surrounding a nearly two year investigation of a former city official. Former city clerk, Vicky Capetillo, faces up to 30 years in prison after admitting to stealing nearly $900,000 from the city.
The results of a forensic audit were presented at Monday night’s council meeting.
“She is my stepdaughter, and I love her, and I am sorry for what happened, but she is going to jail,” Councilman Dennis Trudeau said.
Councilman Trudeau served as Grovetown mayor for years– including the time his step-daughter, Vicky Capetillo, allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city.
Taxpayers at Monday night’s meeting are asking why Trudeau refused audits when he was leading Grovetown.
“If this was my daughter, I wouldn’t believe something like this could happen,” Councilwoman Deborah Fisher told the crowd. “I would also reject the audit.”
Two investigations are underway for Capetillo– a Federal case involving the FBI and another by the city.
Capetillo resigned in August of 2016, and she had her day in Federal court last December, pleading guilty to two charges: One count of federal program theft and one count of money laundering. She also admitted to stealing $891,000.
Now two months later, taxpayers got a glimpse into the city’s latest findings.
“For the fifteen month period indicated that $351,607.27 of cash receipts by the city of Grovetown were not deposited into the bank accounts,” Billy Hickman, an auditor with Dabbs, Hickman, Hill and Cannon LLP, said.
Mayor Gary Jones hired the firm last year to determine how much money went missing from April 2015 until June 2016.
You can see on a graph the amounts missing each month: The blue shows bank deposits made by the city and the red how much money the city earned.
The auditors uncovered multiple utilities check didn’t clear, but balances remained. Evidence also shows Capitello frequently worked after hours.
“We didn’t want to believe it, but it came in that she did it, so she has got to do the time,” Perry Badger of Grovetown told NewsChannel 6.
“We have discovered it. We have everything in place moving forward, and if the city is going to continue to move, we have got to put it behind us,” Mayor Jones said.
The auditors recommend that the city conducts audits regularly and increase security– like adding cameras inside of city offices.
We will continue to keep you updated on this case.