Dec 22, 2016

Iowa audit: Psychic hotlines part of $500k impropriety

Angela Josephine Billings
Jason Clayworth |
Des Moines Register
December 21, 2016

Calls to psychic hotlines, dozens of purchases for weight-loss supplements and hundreds of charges at convenience stores contributed to what a state investigative audit shows are more than $500,000 in either improper purchases, possible embezzlement and utility customer overbillings in the town of Delhi.

That amount is equal to more than $1,000 for each of the 460 residents of the eastern Iowa town in Delaware County.

Angela Josephine Billings, 42, the former Delhi City Clerk, was arrested by the Delaware County Sheriff's office on three felony theft charges about five hours after Tuesday's audit was publicly released. The charges cite the audit's findings.
The audit was launched last year after Billings resigned to take another job. The new city clerk alerted other city officials of possible financial improprieties after discovering a city credit card that had previously been heavily used that the city council was unaware had existed.

The audit identified $246,653 of improper payments that include nearly $90,000 on the city credit card and more than $60,000 in payroll to Billings. It also identified $6,700 of unbilled personal utilities to Billings’ residence and her ex-husband’s business utility accounts that resulted after the meters had been turned off in 2007.

The audit examined the city’s financials during Billings’ employment with the city from March 2007 until January 2015. It additionally identified almost $257,000 in customer sewer utility overbillings due to a 160 percent monthly rate increase from $10 to $26 a month that began in 2010 and was not approved by the city council.

A copy of the report by the staff of Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman was provided to state and local law enforcement agencies.
Delaware County Attorney John Bernau said he did not expect additional charges in connection with Tuesday's audit. Billings, who is now a resident of Anamosa, could not be reached Tuesday prior to her arrest. She was being held on a $25,000 bond as of late Tuesday.

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