When times are hard, people may resort to desperate measures to make ends meet. One Iowa woman may have been in that situation because she is being accused of committing over $300,000 in fraud. The investigation began after the mayor of a local town heard reports that a clerk had been throwing city documents into the dumpster. The documents included statements from unauthorized bank accounts as well as carbons of checks and deposit slips associated with those accounts.
Officials requested an audit immediately after the clerk was fired. The audit revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unsanctioned transactions and undeposited payments from utilities and other city funds. These payments apparently went into one of two accounts the woman is accused of opening with falsified documents to authorize the accounts. Auditors uncovered almost $33,000 in city funds deposited in those accounts.
The disbursements alerted auditors because of their personal nature. Approximately $46,000 worth of merchandise was purchased at Sam's Club and Walmart using city funds. These items -- groceries, clothing, toys, furniture and beauty products – were not the usual expenses made by the city. In addition to these expenses, the woman allegedly wrote payroll checks to herself totaling almost $40,000.
The auditor bemoaned the fact that fraud is common in smaller Iowa cities because workers are trusted and often unsupervised in their duties. While no charges have been filed at this time, it is likely to occur when the investigation is complete. The woman will need an attorney who can build a strong defense to protect her rights.
Source: nonpareilonline.com, "Iowa State Auditor's Office report shows almost $331,000 in fraud by former Riverton city clerk", Mike Brownlee, Dec. 8, 2016