Former prison deputy warden accused of stealing $19K in pay pleads guilty

A former deputy warden at Warren Correctional Institution who was paid nearly $19,000 for reported hours he did not work faces up to three years in prison.

Robert Welch, 57, of Dayton is scheduled to be sentenced March 20 in Warren County Common Pleas Court after he pleaded guilty Feb. 1 to theft in office, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 36 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“He will be required to make full restitution as part of his sentence, which I understand he will do immediately upon sentencing,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said.

Welch is accused of recording more than 350 hours on Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections time clocks when he was not actually working.

“Instead, Welch spent some of the ‘on the clock’ hours conducting his secondary employment as an adjunct professor,” Fornshell said in October.

Sinclair Community College confirmed that Welch worked as an instructor from Aug. 30, 2018, to Dec. 11, 2022.

The thefts occurred over a 10-month period, beginning in April 2022, Fornshell said.

ODRC conducted an administrative investigation and referred the case to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Office of Criminal Investigation.

Welch started working for the Ohio prison system in August 2000 and resigned in April 2023, said JoEllen Smith, ODRC communications chief. He earned $53.01 an hour at the time of his resignation, she said.

A grand jury indicted Welch in October for three felony counts: theft in office, tampering with records and grand theft, but the latter two charges were dismissed as part of his plea.

Fornshell said the prosecutor’s office is recommending that Welch, who is free awaiting sentencing, receive a prison term.

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