A former Grove City payroll specialist has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to stealing more than $67,000 from the city.

A former Grove City payroll specialist has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to stealing more than $67,000 from the city.

On Thursday, Aug. 23, Judge Richard A. Frye of Franklin County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Jacqueline K. Kincade, 62, and ordered her to pay a $5,000 fine and $114,800 in restitution.

Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said the city is satisfied with the sentence.

"Justice is coming to fruition," he said.

On July 10, Kincade, of Birch Park Drive in Prairie Township, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of theft in office, tampering with records and filing an incomplete or fraudulent income-tax return.

Kincade had worked for the city from 1987 through January 2011.

A report from the state auditor's office in October 2011 indicated Kincade wrote 26 checks to herself totaling $67,799 between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2010.

The theft was discovered in December 2010 when the city received notice from the Internal Revenue Service of funds due, and city officials subsequently found 49 letters from the IRS in Kincade's work desk, many serving notice of penalties against for not properly withholding payroll taxes for Grove City employees.

"Within 48 hours of notice from the IRS, we knew a crime had been committed," Stage said. "We turned the case over to our police department."

Kincade is reported to have delayed or failed to pay withholding taxes for city employees to cover her thefts, resulting in the IRS penalties and accumulated interest. She is also reported to have diverted money from other city funds to conceal discrepancies created by the thefts.

The entire affair is reported to have cost Grove City $942,869 as a result of money stolen, penalties and interest paid to the IRS, the cost to conduct the state audit, police overtime during the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office investigation and legal fees.

Grove City did receive good news recently when it reached a settlement with its insurance company.

The city has accepted an insurance payment of $555,205, said Community and Business Relations Officer Don Walters.

"We really minimized our losses," Walters said. "We'll be glad to have this all behind us."

The insurance payment comes in addition to the $667,551 in unpaid penalties and interest the IRS agreed to waive last year.

"I'm pleased with what our attorneys have done in mitigating our losses," Stage said.

Walters said over the past two years, the city has implemented changes as a result of the thefts. He said the city uses new finance software, multiple people are involved with checking account reconciliation and the mail handling process has been changed.

The city also hired an outside audit firm to review the changes it implemented, Walters said.

"They concurred we had all reasonable doors closed," he said.