Former Polk tax office employee charged with embezzlement

Published 9:51 am Thursday, March 12, 2009

Zieler was expected to turn herself in later on Wednesday when she would be arrested and have the opportunity to post bond.

After completing an internal inquiry of its own in 2006, the county turned the investigation over to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.

According to a county audit, Zieler initiated the irregular transactions abating tax bills and voiding tax payments.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Without naming her at the time, former Polk County Manager Michael Talbert explained that Zieler altered tax records through abatement with no documentation to back it up. The fraudulent transactions were done between 2003 through 2006, Talbert said.

He said Zieler had been a long-time employee who had a good working history prior to the county&squo;s discovery of the transactions.

Polk County adopted new policies for all its departments which handle cash and began surprise inspections by the county finance officer, while also creating tighter checks and balances on daily cash drawers.

The embezzlement is the latest of several embezzlement cases in the county government since 2000.

A former tax office employee was convicted of embezzling almost $32,000 in the years 2000 and 2001. She was convicted in 2002. Other embezzlements have occurred since 2000 in the county register of deeds office, the sheriff&squo;s office and a few in the county school system.