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City of Hilliard suing ex-employee accused of stealing more than a half-million dollars

More legal troubles for a former Hilliard Recreation and Park's official accused of stealing cash from city coffers. (WSYX/WTTE)

More legal troubles for a former Hilliard Recreation and Park's official accused of stealing cash from city coffers.

Heather Ernst, was indicted last month on nine felony charges including, theft in office.

"She was in a position of trust," said Doug Francis, with the City Of Hilliard, "She was able to manipulate the system, there were procedures in place, and at no time was there anyone doubting her."

In a complaint filed late Thursday, the city claims for five years Ernst falsified daily cash receipts and failed to deposit all of the pool admission money into city accounts, instead of treating the money as her own.

ABC 6/FOX 28 attempted to contact Ernst at her Hilliard home, but no one came to the door.

Ernst resigned in December citing aggressive breast cancer.

In her resignation letter, Ernst addressed concerns dating back to 2015 about pool deposits not being picked up and dropped off at the bank every day, writing, "for the life of me I cannot understand why no policy was ever established."

"There were many people who had hands in the money (and access to money) at the pool's before I got there."

Hilliard Police have said Ernst is the only city employee linked to the thefts.

City Hall now taking steps to prevent similar crimes from happening inside the government offices.

Hilliard about to expand resident payment options.

Within the next few months, customers will be able to pay fees at Rec centers and pools with cash, credit and debit cards, and online. A new Hilliard Gift card will also be available for purchase.

A third-party consultant has also been hired to help create additional security practices that will increase employee accountability.

"$540,000 was stolen, taking steps to make it better, making people accountable, so it doesn't happen again," said Francis.

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