A former Lakewood city court clerk misappropriated at least $11,423 in traffic citation collections, according to findings of an investigation conducted by the state Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit.
The former court clerk admitted to state auditors that she had “borrowed” money from her cash drawer throughout her employment with the city and had not paid back the full amount.
According to the audit which focused on the period Feb. 1, 2006 through Jan. 31, 2009, she used several methods to conceal this activity from management, including altering city receipts to indicate that she had collected less than she really had and failing to issue at least 22 receipts representing collections of $3,953 for payments made using checks and money orders.
Auditors also discovered that she issued receipts from a receipt book that was unknown to both her co-workers and city officials. A total of 123 receipts from the then-unknown book are missing and not recorded on the city court docket. Auditors estimate that the missing receipts could represent as much as $12,900 worth of additional undeposited collections.
“For two and a half years, the former court clerk collected payments for traffic citations while also being responsible for recording all of the payments received,” said Dennis Dycus, director of the Division of Municipal Audit. “She was given complete control of thousands of collection transactions without adequate compensation oversight and separation of duties. To decrease the risk of undetected errors and irregularities, no employee should have control over a complete transaction.”
The case was turned over to the local district attorney general for prosecution.