BUNKER HILL— A Miami County town is facing state scrutiny once again after state auditors uncovered questionable bookkeeping and conflict of interest among the town’s leadership.
The Indiana State Board of Accounts released an audit report which says the Town of Bunker Hill's Clerk-Treasurer, Danielle Pebley, and the former Clerk-Treasurer, Cory Pebley, need to repay taxpayers $6,533.
Danielle Pebley is the current Clerk-Treasurer, and she also served in the position from November 2018 to August 2020.
Her husband, Cory Pebley, served on the town council from January 2019 until his resignation to become the Clerk-Treasurer in August 2020. Pebley also served as the President of the Town Council from August 2019 to August 2020.
The Indiana State Board of Accounts found the Pebleys did not file any Conflict of Interest statements, which are required under Indiana law.
“I filled out the form that I thought was supposed to be filled out by the clerk before me, and I didn’t realize there was a different form that needed to be completed. It wasn’t malicious,” Danielle told WRTV Investigates.
State auditors found the Pebley's failed to pay payroll withholding taxes, sales tax and other payments timely to avoid penalties, interest and other charges.
State auditors also found the town failed to comply with laws and regulations for receipts and disbursements including:
- 52 state distribution receipts were not recorded timely
- 32 state distribution receipts were not recorded in the proper fund
- 9 state distribution bank depositions were not recorded to the ledger
- 60 local tax distribution receipts were not recorded timely
- 10 local tax distribution receipts were not recorded in the proper fund
The audit also found the Town of Bunker Hill lacked internal controls related to financial transactions and reporting, cash and investments, receipts and disbursements.
For example, only one person entered the receipts without a review or approval process, the audit found.
The town certified on the state’s reporting system that employees were trained on internal control standards.
“No documentation was provided to determine that employees were trained on internal control standards,” read the audit.
WRTV Investigates spoke with current Clerk-Treasurer Danielle Pebley about the audit.
“Obviously I have to pay the money back, so it will be paid back,” Danielle said. “I wouldn’t say it was mishandling, I would say it was more along the lines of no training. The internal controls, that is being taken care of and I’ve worked with the auditors when the auditors were here.”
The town of Bunker Hill has a population of just over 800 people and is six square miles, however, its public officials have faced scrutiny in recent years.
In 2015, former Bunker Hill Court Clerk Careena Byers was convicted on forgery charges.
In 2018, former Town of Bunker Hill clerk-treasurer Lisa Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of theft amid for using taxpayer money for personal expenses.
Also in 2018, the former Bunker Hill town marshal pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstruction of justice.
Danielle and Cory Pebley have not been criminally charged.
“It’s not anything criminal,” Danielle said. “First off, I’m not stealing money. I would really appreciate this not being on the news because nothing is happening that’s illegal.”
Danielle also emphasized she had been struggling with health issues during the audit period, which was January 2019 to December 2021.
“The money is getting paid back,” Danielle said.