A former Dauphin County employee was charged Tuesday with defrauding the county of nearly half a million dollars and investigators say they have the evidence to prove he ran the scam from inside the county office walls.
According to court documents, Garry Esworthy billed the county -- and then approved payment to himself -- for $490,970 in consulting work he never did.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said Esworthy had "a sophisticated scheme where ... money was paid to a coporation that didn't exist, that he set up."
Dauphin County Criminal Detective Seargeant David Hodges said Esworthy, the county's Risk Manager from May 2001 to June 2012, admitted to the theft. He said Esworthy told him he started the scheme in 2007 to help pay for "large credit card bills and many health related expenses due to numerous illnesses."
Hodges said Esworthy set up a consulting firm, Risk Management Consultatnts of PA, in his wife's name in 2007. For nearly five years he charged the county and a county contractor for "consulting and insurance related work," Hodges wrote.
After billing the county from his consulting firm, Esworthy would, on behalf of the county, approve the payments, Hodges wrote. A total of seven payments, adding up to $490,970, were deposited into the company's accounts at Metro and Wells Fargo banks over the course of five years.
Dauphin County Chief Deputy Controller Gary Serhan said Esworthy was a trusted
employee who took advantage of an outdated accounting system.
"He drew up invoices like they were payments of legitimate insurance costs to a legitimate insurance company and he paid them and he approved them," Sherhan said.
Sherhan said the county needs to put in a new accounting system that integrates the contract with the accounts payable. County commissioners will have to approve funding for this to happen.
Esworthy was charged with one county of theft by unlawful taking and one count of unlawful use of a computer. He is a Harrisburg resident.