A former Vinton Township Fiscal Officer receives a four year, 11 month prison sentence for stealing public funds

Posted on:

< < Back to

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOUB) — A former fiscal officer for Vinton Township in Vinton County was sentenced Monday to spend 4 years and 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing public funds.

A gavel sits upright on a table
[Billion Photos |]
Cyril “CY” Viersta, of Wilkesville, stole more than $287,500 in public money to pay for personal expenses, according to State Auditor Keith Faber, including costs associated with a roadside zoo he operated.

Vierstra also was ordered to pay $339,717.86 in restitution during a sentencing hearing in Vinton County Common Pleas Court. The total includes funds that were stolen and audit costs.

“These public funds should have gone to roads, fire and police protection, and other services taxpayers rely on, not for a twisty slide for someone’s pet primates,” Faber said.

Vierstra pleaded guilty in October to felony counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft in office, and tampering with records.

He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty, after the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit determined he had used Township debit and credit cards and checks between January 2016 and July 2020 to fund renovations to his residence and for expenses at the Union Ridge Wildlife Center, a nonprofit wildlife refuge he operated.

He created fake invoices, billing slips, and other fraudulent documents to hide the activities.

The unit, which also served as special prosecutor in the case, identified $287,565.11 in township funds that were stolen, plus more than $18,000 in interest and fees owed to the Internal Revenue Service for unremitted tax withholdings attributable to “CY” Vierstra. The township paid $11,036.63 of the IRS interest and fees, with $7,682.49 still outstanding.

Faber’s office said tips related to fraudulent use of public funds can be submitted anonymously online or at 866-372-8364.