Schools Superintendent could face 28 years in prison

Former Clyde Green Springs Schools Superintendent Todd Helms has pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft in office after being accused of stealing from the district.

He had initially plead not guilty before findings of a state investigation were released.

An investigation by Auditor of State Mary Taylor revealed how Helms was able to bilk nearly $300,000 from district taxpayers. "This is a proper ending to an investigation that concluded Todd Helms stole hundreds of thousands of tax dollars meant to educate children in this community," Taylor said. "We will continue our vigilant work to track down fraud and make sure those stealing from Ohio taxpayers are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Helms pleaded guilty to six counts of theft, one count of theft in office, one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, one count of tampering with records and one count of filing a false/fraudulent tax return. He faces up to 28 years in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 9, 2009.

Taylor's investigation revealed Helms established elaborate schemes to steal $295,767 in school money. He stole $161,725 from six different school booster clubs, created fake companies to receive $110,031 in fraudulent payments and made unauthorized purchases totaling $24,011.

As part of his plea, Helms has agreed to forfeit his public pension account (State Teachers Retirement System) and is prohibited from serving in public office in the future.