Audit: Thousands moved to personal account – American Press

An independent audit of the city of Oakdale found that a now deceased city clerk transferred nearly $500,000 in city funds to her personal bank accounts without authorization over a two-year period.

The clerk allegedly made transfers estimated to be $248,564 and $203,753 for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2020 and 2021, according to the audit conducted by Kolder, Slaven and Company of Oberlin.

Additionally, the city had $236,919 in intergovernmental revenues seized through the U.S. Treasury Offset Program for payroll taxes, penalties and interest assessed relating to fiscal year 2016 which was believed to be a result of unauthorized fraudulent payroll transactions.

The audit was released Monday by the state Legislative Auditor’s office.

The independent auditor also reported several other internal control findings including the city did not have adequate segregation for its accounting processes, did not reconcile any of its bank statements in a timely manner, failed to comply with the Local Government Budget Act, and was delinquent in filing and remitting sales taxes collected to the Louisiana Department of Revenue for fiscal year 2021.

A separate investigation released earlier this year by the state’s Legislative Auditor’s office, identified $897,818 in potential misappropriations of city funds between Jan. 1, 2014 and March 17, 2021.

Much of the fraudulent activity was done through payroll with the clerk splitting expenses across all of the city’s expenses.

To date, no restitution has been made, however fidelity bond insurances claims were filed and the city received $105,000. The city is also pursuing civil cases against the clerk’s family and its former auditor to recoup some of the loss money.

The state began investigating the findings last year after receiving a complaint from the city’s auditor regarding improper transfers made to an employee’s personal bank account.

The employee believed to be responsible for the misappropriations died in March 2021 before the state investigation and follow-up audits were completed. She had served as the clerk for 19 years and reportedly had access to two electronic devices which allowed her to conduct the transactions.

The ongoing investigations have not indicated that any other individuals were involved in the misappropriations.

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