The head of an Athens housing agency has been arrested on charges of stealing more than $1.5 million

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The executive director of an Athens agency that helps low-income people with housing was arrested Monday on charges that she stole more than $1.5 million in public money from the organization over several years.

A sign in large writing reads Hope Drive Apartments.
[Theo Peck-Suzuki | WOUB/Report for America]
Jodi K. Rickard allegedly used the money to pay off her mortgage, install an in-ground swimming pool at her home and take expensive vacations, among other things.

Rickard, 57, of Albany, was placed on administrative leave in December after federal and state agents served search warrants at the office of the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority. Rickard was appointed executive director of the agency in January 2020. She previously had served as its finance director.

Rickard’s present status is unclear. As of late Monday afternoon, she was still listed on the agency’s website as executive director.

The Athens County Grand Jury indicted Rickard on Monday following an investigation led by the state auditor’s office, which began with an anonymous tip. Rickard faces seven felony charges for the alleged thefts, which included more than 100 payments to credit card companies, totaling more than $1.5 million. She’s also accused of writing a check for $34,000 to pay off her mortgage.

“Rickard is accused of violating the public trust to live an extravagant lifestyle from funds designated to helping people with the basic necessity of housing,” Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said in a news release. “If convicted, she will face mandatory prison time.”

Rickard is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning in the courtroom of Judge George McCarthy.