Judge, clerk ordered to repay $37K in missing court funds

Melvin Smith, Kimberly Zehring deny wrongdoing


A former Bunker Hill Town Court judge and clerk are being asked to repay $37,052.50 in missing funds.

In a recently released audit by the State Board of Accounts, auditors questioned the actions of former Judge Melvin Smith and former court clerk Kimberly Zehring.      

"The Court Clerk, Kimberly Zehring, performed all of the data entry for the receipts and balanced the cash and money orders to the daily till as reflected in the computer system," read the audit. "After balancing, the Court Clerk either prepared a deposit ticket herself, or gave the cash and money orders to the judge, Melvin Smith, from which he prepared the deposit ticket."

According to the audit, on 121 different days in 2011, deposits to the bank were less than the total receipts.

In a written response to the SBOA, Judge Smith denied any wrongdoing.

"I don’t feel that I should be held partially responsible for the missing funds since I did everything I could in full faith to maintain the integrity of the court as I had the previous seven years," read the response.

A response from Zehring’s attorney, William Berkshire, blamed the computer system.

"If someone wanted to steal money, one would just simply void the ticket and keep the money rather than put the entries in the computer," Berkshire said. "It is still our belief that it is the computer system, not Judge Melvin Smith or Kimberly Zehring that have led to the accounting errors presented by the State Board of Accounts.”

 The audit has been forwarded to the local prosecutor and the Attorney General’s office.


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