(Posted June 14, 2018)
Nicholas Szabo, former London city auditor, was sentenced on June 7 to 28 days in jail and two years of probation following his guilty plea last month to a fourth-degree felony count of theft in office.
Judge Eamon Costello of the Madison County Common Pleas Court said Szabo could face 18 months in prison if he violates the terms of his probation. Szabo will be granted work release privileges during his jail sentence. He previously paid full restitution to the city.
State auditors determined Szabo improperly had the city pay for his entire health insurance costs. Months after he became city auditor in January 2016, Szabo provided a payroll clerk with an old city ordinance requiring the city to pay all of his health insurance costs. However, city council had approved a newer ordinance voiding the benefit. Szabo was aware of the change because he handled these matters when he was deputy city auditor.
Szabo also gave an unauthorized pay raise to Debbie Elliott, a former clerk in his office in May 2016. The city law director caught the raise, which was later voided. Szabo also attempted to get a pay raise for Elliott approved during collective bargaining but failed. Then, in December 2016, Szabo signed a memorandum of understanding giving Elliott a pay raise of 4 percent, though he was not authorized to do so.
Robert Smith, assistant chief legal counsel for the Auditor of State’s office, acted as special prosecutor in the case.