Former city clerk arrested on theft, forgery charges

Keri Kopriva

Following a special investigation report from the State Auditor’s office on Aug. 17, Tama County Sheriff’s Office opened a criminal investigation into former Clutier City Clerk Keri Kopriva.

Kopriva was later charged with six counts of first-degree theft, one count of second-degree theft, and one count of forgery.

The charges stemmed from a special investigation requested by city of Clutier officials as a result of concerns regarding certain financial transactions from 2015 to 2019.

The State Auditor report identified $64,529.94 of improper disbursements and $43,450 of estimated undeposited collections that Kopriva oversaw during her tenure with the city of Clutier.

The improper disbursements identified include $33,138.95 of unauthorized payments to Kopriva and related payroll costs. Kopriva was in charge of payroll checks. She was expected to work from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and cover monthly city meetings. Her hourly wage was set for $8 per hour in August 2012.

According to the report there were at least four times Kopriva’s maximum hours of work changed. This ranged from four hours a day to six hours a day over the course of five years. There were also instances her hourly wage changed. That rate ranged from $8 per hour to $12.50 per hour over a five year span.

Also identified was $27,190 of personal purchases made with the city’s credit card, $1,569.92 of checks issued for personal utility bills and two checks issued to a thrift store but deposited by Kopriva which totaled $1,794. Sand also reported improper disbursements included interest and fees related to credit card payments and late fees and interest charges which resulted from untimely IPERS contributions.

Credit card purchases included $4,328.24 to Amazon, $2,763.78 to Staples, $1,537.70 to Wal-Mart, $1,518.46 for software, $6,822.83 to Apple iTunes and $6,564.50 to other vendors.

Amazon purchases included an iPod, men’s and women’s clothing, Bath and Body Works lotions, jewelry and a snail. All the items purchased were sent to her personal residence. Wal-Mart purchases included prefilled syringe cases, groceries, health and beauty items, a garment rack, clothing, shoe organizers, allergy medication, an FM transmitter, Bluetooth earbuds, a pet toy and alcohol.

The charge of forgery came as a result of a city check that was made out to a thrift store in 2018. The check required two-signature authentication. Kopriva is charged with forging the signature of a city council member to issue the check.

Kopriva was employed as the City Clerk of Clutier from August 22, 2012 until February 4, 2019.

A warrant was issued for Kopriva’s arrest on Sept. 22. She made an initial appearance in Tama County court on Sept. 23 and was released on personal recognizance. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 13.