ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) – A former Athens city official is accused of stealing more than $1.5 million from the city.
According to Ohio Auditor Keith Faber, Jodi Rickard, who served as executive director of the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority at the time of the alleged theft, was arrested Monday.
Rickard was indicted Monday by an Athens County grand jury on two counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and one count each of theft in office, aggravated theft, telecommunications fraud, tampering with evidence, and tampering with records, all of which are felony charges.
According to Faber’s office, the office launched an investigation into the housing authority in December 2022 after it said investigators experienced numerous delays in trying to review the housing authority’s financial records.
Rickard is accused of taking the money from agency accounts between January 2015 and December 2022 and using it for personal expenditures.
“Rickard is accused of violating the public trust to live an extravagant lifestyle from funds designated to helping people with the basic necessity of housing,” Athens County prosecutor Keller J. Blackburn said in a press release. “If convicted, she will face mandatory prison time.”
The Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority assists low-income families to find stable, affordable housing, according to its website.
As of Monday afternoon, Rickard was still listed on the authority’s website as its chief executive officer.