Strongsville City Schools launch fraud hotline after $70,000 theft from former employee

Strongsville City Schools launch fraud hotline after $70,000 theft from former employee
Robert Schwerman, a former Strongsville City Schools employee, is serving nine months in prison right now. (Source: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)

STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - A state audit released Wednesday reveals a former Strongsville City Schools employee was ordered to repay thousands of dollars to the district.

Strongsville City Schools launch fraud hotline after $70,000 theft from former employee

The Ohio Auditor of State found he stole nearly $70,000 last May.

All of the taxpayer money that was wasted has been recovered, according to the auditor's office.

Robert Schwerman, a former maintenance foreman, is serving nine months in prison right now.

Robert Schwerman, a former Strongsville City Schools employee, is serving nine months in prison right now.
Robert Schwerman, a former Strongsville City Schools employee, is serving nine months in prison right now. (Source: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)

In May, investigators executed a search warrant at his house.

They found 78 items ordered through the district and kept for his personal use, worth $67,748.

Investigators found a full home back-up generator, air conditioning and new furnace at Schwerman’s Columbia Station home.

They also found a John Deere utility vehicle valued at more than $23,600, and a $9,600 zero-turn lawn mower and a carport, all paid for with taxpayer money, according to the state auditor.

There was even a barn in his yard, stolen from a school’s property.

Investigators say Schwerman stole this barn from school property and put it in his own yard.
Investigators say Schwerman stole this barn from school property and put it in his own yard. (Source: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office)

Schwerman pleaded guilty in September to theft in office and tampering with records, both felonies.

The audit ordered Schwerman to repay $44,645 to the district, and he repaid them in November.

Strongsville City Schools responded to the audit, saying since the theft they have taken several steps to prevent this from happening again.

The school district updated its system for tracking inventory, requiring a more thorough approval process for purchase requests.

The school district also added an internal fraud hotline on its website.

The State Auditor started investigating Schwerman in 2017 after receiving a tip.

It came through their fraud hotline, where you can report issues like this anonymously.

Ohio State Auditor Fraud Hotline: 1-866-FRAUD-OH

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