Convicted library employee audit released

Library Theft

The former Kinsman Free Public Library fiscal officer set to serve jail time next month spent money she stole from the library to buy herself computers, a grill, groceries, gift cards, gasoline and a web cam, among other items, according to a state audit.

The state auditor finalized its review of the library’s finances and discovered several discrepancies, mis-dealings, theft and non-payments. The library’s former fiscal officer, Sharon Vankenegan, 47, was sentenced to 30 days in jail starting Sept. 25 for stealing thousands of dollars from the branch. She pleaded guilty to the charge in May.

Thousands of dollars were illegally used to buy things for herself, more was stolen from patrons paying late fees, some was stolen from Vankenegan cashing unauthorized checks from the library’s bank account and $1,000 was never documented into the library system from a coin collecting wishing well for charity.

A bonding company for Vankenegan, the Auto Owners Mutual Insurance Company, repaid the library $59,732 in funds missing from the library’s accounts. The thefts were between 2006 and 2011, the audit says.

Vankenegan’s state retirement account has been frozen so prosecutors can recover the stolen money.

Among the items Vankenegan bought with library money include gift cards from Toys ‘R Us and Amazon, an iPod, movies, video games, health and beauty products, clothes and magazines. She used $11,963 to buy the items.

The audit also found nine employees had $35 memberships to Sam’s Club, which cost the library $945 throughout the years.

The audit also noted Vankenegan authorized a $2,200 extra payroll check to herself, that she cashed a $2,800 unapproved check, another $265 one for petty cash and cashed $2,310 worth  of checks for fake travel expenses.

Also missing from records were $15,354 in fines collected from patrons for late fees.

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