Audit: Money went missing in Florida

FLORIDA – An audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office said more than $19,000 of taxpayer funds went missing from the town between 2010 and 2012, with the town clerk allegedly transfering money between accounts under her control.

The report said the town clerk, Jacquelyn Francisco, notified auditors during their review that she feared a family member gained access to taxpayer funds and removed them.

The report said that insufficient record keeping and oversight led to the missing funds.

Francisco said this morning the money had been paid back to the town.

Francisco, who would not identify the family member, said she had no idea how the individual accessed the money.

The audit, which went through records between Jan. 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, said there was at least $19,107 missing, with money transfers placed in an attempt to cover up the shortfalls.

“During our scope, the clerk used $3,210 of clerk revenues and $2,800 of personal moneys to compensate for the shortages. The clerk also deposited an additional $5,200 of personal money into the clerk account in June 2012 as partial repayment for the shortages. This money was remitted to the supervisor in October 2012,” the audit report said. “Subsequent to our fieldwork, we received documentation from the supervisor indicating that the clerk provided him payment for the remaining $11,107 of the shortage and he had deposited the moneys received from her into the town’s bank account. However, we were also informed by the supervisor that there were discrepancies with recent deposits of property tax collections.”

The audit suggested, as a way to prevent future issues, the town record tax payments, reconcile records of collections with deposits, provide oversight of the tax-collection process, duplicate receipts, record the names and amounts into the cash receipts journal, and other general record keeping changes. Also, it suggested the town invest in a safe.

In a letter attached to the audit, Supervisor William Strevy said that actions suggested in the audit already have been implemented.

“The town of Florida Town Board appreciates the efforts made by your office to identify weaknesses within the Town Clerk’s Office Operations and will strive to correct all,” Strevy said in a response to the audit.

Francisco said she was not aware of any legal repercussions regarding the missing money.

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