Auditor Faber Uncovers $11,358 of Fraudulent Activity in Coshocton City and County Parks District
Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber on December 31, 2019 released the 2017 and 2018 audit report for the Coshocton City and County Parks District, which uncovered that district’s seasonal administrative assistant, Kelsey Saylor, fraudulently took $11,358 of district funds.
“Public employees who take advantage of their position to defraud taxpayers should know that my office will always hold to account those who lie, cheat, and steal,” Auditor Faber said.
To keep track of reservations and record all receipts delivered to the parks district’s main office, including pool entry fees, campground fees, shelter fees, pavilion fees, and ice and firewood sails, the district uses a software program called Digital REZ.
During the course of the audit, auditors tested the internal controls at two of the district’s cash collection points: the districts pool admissions desk and pool concession stand. The district logged daily activity at these points on Aquatic Center reports. Concession stand employees collected money for food and drinks sold and entered it into a cash register. At the end of the day, concessions stand employees ran a total report and reconciled the money on hand with the cash register records. Employees also completed a daily report, which detailed the breakdown of money collected by the stand. There wasn’t always a secondary count of the funds collected by the stand because the concessions manager did not work every day. However, the manager on duty at the pool admissions desk verified the count before bringing the money to the main office and putting it in a safe. Each morning, the seasonal administrative assistant collected the money from the safe and recounted the money. Then the seasonal administrative assistant prepared the bank deposit slip and gave the slip and money to the Park Director for deposit. The Park Director did not recount the money or compare the deposit to the daily Aquatic Center reports before depositing it.
Additionally, Park Rangers for the district collected money each weekend for camping fees, ice, and firewood sales. The Ranger turned in any money to the main office along with a report prepared by the Ranger showing the fees collected and copies of the camping permits issued. The seasonal administrative assistant then enters the sale activity into the Digital REZ system so it is included in the daily cash out report. The district also collected shelter, campground, and dance pavilion fess at their main office. These funds would also be included in the daily cash out report.
At the end of each day, the seasonal administrative assistant printed a cash out report from the Digital REZ system and reconciled the money on hand with the totals on the software system. Then the seasonal administrative assistant prepared the bank deposit slip and wrote a breakdown of the receipt on the bank deposit slip. That person then gave the deposit slip and money to the Parks Director for deposit. However, the seasonal administrative assistant did not sign the daily cash out reports and the Parks Director did not recount money or compare the deposit to the daily reports before depositing.
Auditors compared the Aquatic Center reports to the attached cash register tapes and found that the cash from the pool admissions and concessions was short $7,314 and $1,598 for 2018 and 2017, respectively. These shortages occurred on days where Saylor worked as the seasonal administrative assistant either the day of collection or the day after collection and handled the counting of the money and preparation of bank deposit slips.
When comparing the daily activity statements from the Digital REZ software to the camping permits, gift certificates, and pool passes, the cash deposited at the main office was short $2,086, $200, and $160 for 2018, 2017, and 2016, respectively. Saylor signed all these documents, indicating that she received payment.
In accordance with these facts and circumstances, Auditor Faber has issued an $11,358 finding for recovery against Saylor, in favor of the parks district.
The Coshocton County Court of Common Pleas found that Saylor was guilty of theft and tampering with evidence. The court ordered her to pay restitution of $5,000 of the $11,358 finding. As of October 2, 2019, Saylor has repaid $135 of the funds owed.
A full copy of this report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.