A former London city auditor was sentenced Thursday to 28 days in jail and two years of probation following a conviction for theft in office.
Nicholas Szabo, 30, pleaded guilty to the fourth-degree felony May 9 after failing to pay more than $3,000 for his government health benefits and giving an unauthorized pay raise to a colleague.
He will be granted work release privileges while serving his jail sentence. If he violates his terms of probation, Madison County Common Pleas Court Judge Eamon Costello said Szabo could face up to 18 months in prison.
“There are consequences for those who abuse their positions of trust for personal gain,” state Auditor Dave Yost said in a written statement. “This man clearly thought he was clever enough to sidestep the law without drawing attention. But he wasn’t, and now he’ll answer for his crimes.”
State auditors discovered that months after Szabo became London’s auditor on Jan. 1, 2016, he gave a payroll clerk a copy of an old city ordinance requiring the city to pay all health-insurance costs. He was the deputy auditor when a new law voided that ordinance, so officials said he knew about the change.
In May 2016, he also gave an unauthorized pay raise to Debbie Elliott, a clerk in his office at the time, but the error was caught by the city law director and reversed. He tried and failed to get Elliott a raise during collective bargaining. Even though he was unauthorized to do so, he then signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2016 to give Elliot a 4 percent raise, which cost the city $2,000.
Szabo resigned in December when faced with the allegations.
Originally published by The Columbus Dispatch on June 7, 2018.