A state investigation shows a Mills County clerk hired to replace an embezzler ended up stealing about $37,000 in auto fees that were to be paid to the county and the state. 

“She would either collect money for issuing license plate tags or for vehicle registrations and once that was done and they’d collected money from people, she’d void them out — so the system did not show money being owed,” says Deputy State Auditor Warren Jenkins, “and she would pocket the money.”

Tammy Gammon began working in the Mills County Treasurer’s Office in 2003. She was fired in April of last year after she admitted to the theft. The audit reviewed records from the last six years of her employment and Jenkins says 182 people in Mills County were driving around with expired plates at some point, because they’d paid the annual fees to Gammon, but she had pocketed the money.

“If somebody got stopped by law enforcement, had their registration checked, found out it was invalid, but the law enforcement would tell them to just talk to the treasurer’s office,” Jenkins says. “…There were opportunities that it could have been caught earlier, but no one circumstance was deemed to be serious enough that they looked at a system-wide problem.”

The state audit report recommends that Mills County officials make changes in their accounting systems.

“It’s a matter of instituting some preventative measures,” Jenkins says, “making sure that transactions are looked at — particularly voided transactions — to make sure that they are, in fact, voided properly, as opposed to being voided to implement this kind of a scene.”

Gammon was originally hired in 2003 to replace a former Mills County employee who had embezzled funds. The auditor’s review found Gammon manipulated transactions for annual license plate renewals, for vehicle title fees and for the purchase of new license plates. Of the money she stole, about $35,000 of it was to have been sent to the Iowa Department of Transportation and $1400 was to have been kept in Mills County’s transportation account.

Gammon, who lives in Glenwood, will be charged with first degree theft, forgery, misconduct in office, and ongoing criminal conduct.