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Special Audit of Environmental Services Department Released
Columbus – A former customer service specialist pocketed more than $15,000 in cash received by the Montgomery County Environmental Services Department, according to a special audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Incompetent oversight allowed the customers’ trash fees to become this employee’s treasure,” Auditor Yost said. “The Environmental Services Department needs to adopt a system of internal controls to ensure incoming funds make it to the county treasurer’s office intact.”
On January 7, 2015, Auditor of State staff conducting the county’s 2014 financial audit discovered that incoming solid waste payments from customers did not match the amount deposited. Additionally, auditors learned of a utility customer who received a shut-off notice despite him having proof that he paid his water bill. This matter was considered by the Auditor of State’s Special Audit Task Force and was designated a Special Audit 2 on February 18, 2015. Preliminary results of the Special Audit 2 revealed that additional work was required, and the examination was elevated to a Special Audit 1 on March 31, 2015.
The special audit identified $12,987 in cash collected by the solid waste department that was not submitted to the county treasurer’s office for deposit. Rozalin Smith was one of several customer service specialists responsible for receiving bank deposit bags from the solid waste department, preparing reconciliations of those receipts with the solid waste reports and creating pay-in reports for the treasurer’s office. During an interview with investigators, Smith admitted that she took cash from the solid waste collections as needed to cover personal expenses.
During the audit period, Smith also was responsible for processing utility payments. Auditors identified 10 voided utility receipts totaling $2,092 that were paid for and had originally been credited to customer accounts. Smith admitted that sometimes after receiving cash payments for utility bills, she would credit the payments to the utility receipt system but then void the transactions. She would then remove the cash from the office for her personal use.
Findings for recovery totaling $15,079 were issued against Smith. She repaid $2,354 on February 27, 2015. Smith was placed on administrative leave effective January 14, 2015 and resigned from her position on February 4, 2015. She pled guilty on December 16, 2015 to one count of theft in office and was sentenced to five years of community control, 40 hours of community service and ordered to pay $12,725 in restitution.
A full copy of this special audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.