Donna Ellen Rainey

Donna Ellen Rainey

ENID, Okla. — The former clerk and treasurer for the towns of Hunter and Kremlin was charged Wednesday with embezzlement of public funds.

Donna Ellen Rainey, also known as Donna Ellen Kliewer, faces no less than a year or no more than 10 years imprisonment and a fine equal or triple to the amount of money embezzled if she is found guilty. She is scheduled for arraignment on the charge Friday.

The charge accuses Rainey of issuing herself $29,0783.15 for personal use and possession between Nov. 1, 2015, and April 9, 2019.

According to an affidavit filed in the case by Brenda Holt, deputy director of the Special Investigative Unit for the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector's office, on April 26 the SA&I was requested by District Attorney Mike Fields to perform an investigative audit relating to the books and accounts of the town of Hunter.

Holt assigned Special Agent Salesha Wilken to investigate, and she also performed investigatory work, according to the affidavit.

Rainey served as the town clerk and treasurer for Hunter during the times noted in the affidavit through the board of trustee's appointment and issued all payments noted in the affidavit. 

Rainey's duties included the issuance of checks and management of the town of Hunter and Hunter's Public Works Authority expenditures, according to the affidavit. From Nov. 1, 2015, through April 9, 2019, Rainey issued to herself without permission 74 checks totaling $29,783.15 that were paid in excess of, or in addition to, her official payroll amount, the affidavit states.

During a May 14, 2019, interview with Rainey, Rainey told Holt and Wilken she had paid herself extra funds and the town board had not approved such payments.

According to an investigative report by Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd, Byrd’s office was performing a citizen petition audit in Kremlin when it was discovered Rainey also was serving as the clerk/treasurer for Hunter.

"Records reflected that the transactions were being comingled between the two towns," according to the investigative report. 

Hunter is organized under a statutory town board of trustees form of government, and the town combined the positions of town clerk and town treasurer, eliminating a segregation of duties related to the town's finances and allowing control over financial activity to one person.

"To further impede the lack of internal controls, the clerk/treasurer was permitted to operate Town business from her home located in Kremlin," according to the report. "The Board of Trustees (Board) allowed Rainey to operate the home office for at least 15 years."

During the audit, it was found the operations of Hunter and Kremlin were co-mingled. Rainey accepted utility payments for both towns at her home office, according to the report.

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains.
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