A state audit released today shows a former county government employee in eastern Iowa used the county’s charge account to purchase thousands of dollars of gasoline for his personal vehicle. Former Benton County Conservation Department director William Heber left office shortly after he was questioned about the purchases.

State Auditor David Vaudt say his office’s review of the case found the improper purchases were made between June 2010 and November 2011.

“According to the records we were able to look at, we identified about $2,800 worth of improper fuel costs that were incurred because of Mr. Heber’s actions,” Vaudt said.

The report states auditors were unable to determine whether additional improper fuel purchases were made – or if camping fees collected by the department were properly deposited – because adequate records were not available. The improper gas purchases were discovered by another employee of the Benton County Conservation Department in October of last year.

“The explanation that Mr. Heber provided was that the county-owned vehicle he was assigned to use was malfunctioning, so he decided to use his own vehicle,” Vaudt said. “However, many times, Mr. Heber was purchasing gas for his own vehicle when he was on sick leave.”

Auditors determined 45 out of 51 fuel purchases made be Heber were improper. The report has been turned over to the Benton County Sheriff’s office, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Benton County Attorney’s office and the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

See the audit report here: BentonCountyConservation PDF