Former county worker gets jail time on theft charges

By Brian Sweeney
A former Delaware County employee was sentenced to jail last week after she allegedly used her official position to steal more than $53,000 from child-support payment funds. Karen Faulkner, 50, of Trout Creek was sentenced to three months in jail and five years’ probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $53,000.
Faulkner pled guilty in July to third-degree grand larceny (class D felony) before Delaware County Court Judge Carl Becker in July.
Faulkner’s plea agreement also includes a provision that she must never again seek nor obtain employment with a government agency.
Faulkner admitted that she used her access to and control over court-ordered child support payments to take approximately 83 payments totaling more than $53,000 for her personal use.
Court records indicate that between 2003 and 2007 Faulkner was employed as a support investigator by the Delaware County Support Collection Unit (SCU). The SCU is responsible for receiving and processing court-ordered child support from individuals who make payments, often in cash, directly to the SCU in Delhi.
Faulkner’s responsibilities included accepting payments, issuing receipts, depositing money into a SCU-designated account at the Delaware National Bank of Delhi, and managing the related bookkeeping.
During an October 2007 audit, large discrepancies in the amount of money collected at the Delhi office versus money deposited in the designated bank account were noted. The Office of the State Comptroller subsequently performed its own audit and the case was ultimately referred to the Attorney General’s Office.
Court records showed that approximately $53,000 was received by SCU but never deposited into the designated account. Likewise, a comparison of SCU records and Faulkner’s personal accounts showed a pattern of cash being received at her office, shortly thereafter, cash deposits being made into her personal account. Internal paperwork showed the money was deposited in the SCU account when it had not been done.