Home News Monday Afternoon News, May 20th

Monday Afternoon News, May 20th


State Auditor Files Report On Former Westfield City Clerk

(Des Moines) — A special investigation by the state auditor’s office has identified nearly $75,000 worth of improper transactions by the former city clerk in the small Plymouth County town of Westfield.

The investigation was sparked by concerns about former Westfield City Clerk Angela Sorensen. Sorensen told auditors the city’s financial records were destroyed in a fire at city hall that started on the edge of her desk and more recent records were lost due to a computer virus.

Auditors, though, were able to review about four-and-a-half years worth of records and identified nearly $40,000 of utility payments to the city that were never deposited. Sorenson was overpaid by more than 13,000 during the four-and-a-half year period and Sorenson wrote herself about $4300 worth of
unauthorized checks, plus another $3000 worth of checks were redeemed for cash.

Copies of the auditor’s report have been forwarded to the Plymouth County Sheriff and County Attorney as well as the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the state attorney general.

Westfield is a community of about 130 residents. No other city in the state is located further west than Westfield.



Omaha Man Charged With Fraud

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Authorities say an Omaha man defrauded Medicare and Medicaid in a scheme involving recipients in Nebraska, Iowa and other states.
A U.S. District Court complaint filed earlier this month says Nereus Sutko committed health care fraud that began in November 2010 and continued into this month. Sutko’s attorney, Adam Sipple, said Monday that Sutko will plead not guilty. Sipple declined to comment further about the allegations.
The documents say Sutko sometimes visited homeless shelters and threw pizza parties at nursing homes, promising gifts as a way to obtain Social Security and health information for his scheme. The documents say Sutko would order health care items that would never be delivered to the recipients.
Sutko is alleged to have filed 1,666 Medicare claims through the
company he managed, Better Lives, getting more than $674,000. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Norris says he can’t yet specify how much money Sutko is alleged to have fraudulently profited through his scheme.



Economic Development Awards Tax Incentives For Iowa Companies Wanting To Expand Operations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State incentives have been approved for a plant expansion that could create 32 new jobs in Mason City and construction of a new plant to replace plants destroyed by a tornado near Pella.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority OK’d $6 million Friday for industrial and agricultural equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corp., which is rebuilding its campus. The July 19 tornado destroyed two plants.
Most state economic development programs provide incentives for creating jobs, but emergency provisions let companies qualify for aid without creating new jobs. State documents say the incentives will “enable Vermeer to retain 406 employees who were displaced after the tornado.”
The authority also approved nearly $233,000 in tax credits for a
$62.8 million expansion at Kraft Heinz Foods in Mason City.



July Sentencing Scheduled For Knoxville Couple Accused Of Starving Child Addicted To Cocaine

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) – A July sentencing has been scheduled for an Iowa mom and dad whose underweight 3-month-old daughter tested positive for cocaine.
Marion County District Court records show 20-year-old Stazia Kirk and 21-year-old Zak Herman pleaded guilty last week to felony neglect of a dependent person. Their sentencing is scheduled for July 18.
Court documents say their baby, Charlotte, weighed less than her birth weight when she was taken to a hospital in December. A doctor says the baby tested positive for cocaine and was suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. The documents also say Kirk and Herman admitted to using cocaine recently. They lived in Pella at the time.