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The auditor urges the county to strengthen internal controls after alleged thefts



The Washington State Auditor's Office has demanded a tightening of the internal controls in Spokane County in the wake of an alleged $ 1.38 million theft of taxpayers' money by a former County Risk Management Officer employee, according to an office report Thursday.

The alleged thefts from the county, which occurred between January 2007 and December 2016, indicated that "internal controls in the county were not sufficient to protect public resources," said the state auditor report.

One county The survey showed that the former real estate engineers, who were employed by the risk management department from April 2001 to May 2018, used at least 45 relatives and acquaintances with cash control for counterfeit liability claims, according to the state auditor's report.

Talsman's review reported that the former county officer, accused of theft, Rhonda Ackerman, was also recently accused in a bourgeois trial for stealing money from her mother, who has dementia, having adopted authority over her bank and pension accounts.

The Risk Management Department introduced safeguards to improve processes and improve procedures for verifying the validity of each claim in October 201

8 as a result of this theft, says Steve Bartel, Risk Management Manager, Spokane County at a press conference on Thursday, published on Facebook. .

These steps include setting up risk management director as the primary payer and limiter approver when a designated backup can accept payments.

"the county carries crime / employee dishonesty insurance. In this case, when we discovered the extent of the theft, I reported it to our crime insurance. They have accepted and opened a claim," Bartel says.

"I expect one Full refund of $ 1.38 million minus our $ 25,000 deductible, "he said at the press conference.

In its report, the state audited the auditors' office recommended that the county strengthen internal control over the claims payment process in order to" ensure sufficient oversight and supervision to Protecting Public Resources ".

This should include an" independent and thorough review of all risk management departments dealt with by the County Audit Office ", it said. the auditor's report has also been referred to the police.

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