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Treasurer Employee Dismissed for Theft in Office
Bonita Lashawn Smith (aka Bonita Bush) stole thousands of dollars from the Treasurer's Office and finds herself under community controls.
As an employee of the Montgomery County Treasurer's Office, Smith doctored incoming checks to deposit into her personal account. Her own signature on the back of the checks gave law enforcement all the evidence they needed to pursue charges. Even though it was known that Smith deposited at least one check into her personal account, Treasurer Hugh Quill noted that Smith was not immediately charged until a complete investigation was completed. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was waiting for records from several banks and analyzing handwriting samples from Smith. At the time the local media broke the story in the spring of 2002, questions were raised about why Smith was not immediately charged. Quill admitted, "As for the timing of news coverage, I ,too, would rather have seen immediate coverage of an immediate criminal charge. But I am being asked to trust the Sheriff's office on evidence collection issues."
Smith typed her name underneath the original payee. The subtle difference in type was not noticed by the Wright Patt Credit Union employee that allowed Smith to deposit the check into her personal account.
Despite the fact that the check was deposited into Smith's own banking account, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office needed to make sure that Smith was the real thief by comparing the signature on the back of the check to other writing samples from Smith.
The local media may not have jumped on the story if it was not for the watchful eye of a Dayton Daily News reporter. The reporter questioned a payment approved by the County Commissioners that may have otherwise slipped below the public's radar. "The incident was not made public by the county until commissioners approved a payment to the title company. It was just one of many bills the county paid and I happened to notice it in a stack of documents.", the reporter stated. County Commissioners approved a payment to cover the loss until Smith was ordered to pay back the amount that she had stolen.
Smith pled guilty and repaid over $10,000 in exchange for the Prosecutor to dismiss other allegations of theft. It may never be known how much money she actually took while employed by the Treasurer. While not required to spend time in jail, community controls placed on Smith prevent her from ever working in a public position again.
This was not the first time that Smith encountered legal trouble. Vandalia Municipal Court records indicate charges for bad checks in 1999. Smith was hired by the Treasurer's Office in 2000. Her employment ended in 2002.
Further information regarding this case is available at the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts (Case # 2002 CR 2684)