Former City of Hilliard employee charged with theft of funds from city's pools

Photo of Heather Ernst. (Courtesy: Hilliard Police)

Hilliard Police announced that charges have been filed against a former City of Hilliard employee that was connected to the theft of cash from two aquatic facilities.

Police said 47-year-old Heather Ernst was charged with Theft in Office, a third-degree felony. She turned herself into Hilliard Police Friday morning. Ernst was issued a summons to appear in Franklin County Municipal Court for arraignment.

Per HPD, Ernst was employed by the City of Hilliard for 24 years until her resignation this past November. She most recently served as Deputy Director of the Recreation and Parks Department.

Per the release, the total daily cash proceeds from pool admission fees were not deposited in full by Ernst. Police said she provided false information to the city to support the shortened or missing deposits.

“Heather Ernst created an environment in which she controlled all of the cash flow from the pools to serve herself at the expense of taxpayers,” said Hilliard Chief of Police Robert Fisher. “She abused her position of trust.”

Ernst will face up to five years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Police said in Friday's conference that the amount allegedly taken by Ernst was in "six figures."

Mayor Don Schonhart said that Ernst will be held accountable to in the court of law.

“A long-serving member of our staff took advantage of her authority and the public’s trust,” said Schonhardt.

The city said they will continue to work closely with state auditor's office to have an in-depth review of the City’s Financial controls.

We talked with Ernst’s Attorney and he denies all charges and is waiting to see what evidence police have against his client,

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to follow this developing story.

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