After defrauding the City of Casey, Iowa, for roughly five years, a former city clerk was sentenced this week to five years in prison for committing fraud and burning down the Community Building containing the city’s financial records. Using a city credit card without the knowledge of the City Council, the clerk illegally purchased more than $54,000 in personal items from vendors, including Target, Walmart, and an online dating site.
Between 2009 and August 2014, Dorothy Dillinger used city checks to pay for city credit cards that she obtained while serving as a clerk for the City of Casey. Instead of informing the City Council of her personal expenses with city funds, Dillinger secretly ended up with $54,520.33 in improper credit card purchases and $27,412.26 in unauthorized payroll payments.
“Dillinger also admitted to making unauthorized payments to herself for personal expenses without City Council approval or knowledge,” stated U.S. Attorney Kevin VanderSchel. “Dillinger failed to disclose these expenditures to both the City Council as well as in minutes from City Council meetings.”
Shortly before midnight on August 19, 2014, Dillinger set the Casey Community Building on fire in order to destroy the financial records inside because the Iowa State Auditor’s Office was scheduled to begin an audit the next day. The audit had been requested by the citizens of Casey who had initiated a successful petition to locate the missing funds.
Around 3:30 a.m. on August 20, 2014, a heavy rain assisted firefighters in dousing the flames consuming the Casey Community Building. Although Dillinger had attempted to cover up her crimes by causing more than $2 million in damages and replacement costs, Dillinger was later charged with five counts of mail fraud and one count of malicious use of fire for the inferno that destroyed the Casey Community Building, which housed the City Clerk’s Office.
On May 24, 2016, Dillinger pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of malicious use of fire after admitting to setting the blaze and using the U.S. Postal Service to mail city checks paying the balance for illicit city credit card statements. Prior to her guilty plea, Dillinger had been accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from the city while serving as a clerk.
Dillinger was sentenced Monday to five years in prison. She was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following her prison term and to pay $200 towards the Crime Victims’ Fund. A determination regarding restitution will be made at a separate hearing.