State Auditor David Vaudt says a former city clerk in the small western Iowa town of Halbur is responsible for taking nearly $300,000 of the city’s money over a 13 year period. Jill Bruch resigned from her job after the situation was discovered this summer. City officials requested the investigation by the State Auditor’s office.
Vaudt says they were able to trace about 270-thousand dollars that ended up in Bruch’s bank accounts or was paid to her personal credit card account. Bruch also worked at the Westside State Savings Bank in Halbur for the past 21 years.
"Since the city clerk was also an employee at the bank and because there was not a lot of oversight on the city side – she had direct control not only on the city side, but also on the bank side," Vaudt said. "In fact, it was actually discovered by the bank because the bank changed some procedures and was reviewing the checking account of the city because of a (city) employee being there at their bank also."
According to the audit, Bruch is accused of abusing her power both with the city and the bank. Vaudt says Bruch tried to pay back some of the money she took from the city, but did so with funds from the bank. The audit shows, between 2002 and 2005, Bruch deposited over 107-thousand dollars from the bank into the city’s account.
Halbur is located in Carroll County and has a population of just over 200 residents. The auditor’s report has been turned over to the Carroll County Attorney, the Iowa Attorney General and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.