A state audit has found over $131,000 was improperly disbursed by a city clerk in the small town of Dexter – located just west of Des Moines. State Auditor David Vaudt says the money disappeared over a nearly six-year period when Denise Miller worked for the city.

Vaudt says Miller issued nearly $71,000 in checks to herself, while $45,000 was improperly disbursed for penalties and interest related to payroll taxes. The report shows Miller also paid over $4,000 to her husband.

The report has been filed with local and state authorities, but Vaudt isn’t sure what will happen next – since Denise Miller died in July 2010. “It will definitely complicate the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the (Dallas) County Attorney’s office…that’ll complicate any recovery of dollars,” Vaudt says.

In recent years, there’s been a big increase in the number of cases involving a small town city employee stealing money from the city’s finances. Vaudt has called on the legislature to modify auditing requirements for cities with fewer than 2,000 residents. “It would help take away that perceived opportunity to commit fraud and not get caught,” Vaudt said of the proposed legislation.