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Special Audit Confirms $8,000 Missing from Erie County Nursing Home
Columbus – Checks made payable to “cash”- a practice that’s virtually never justified for government entities – led to nearly $8,000 in findings for recovery in a special audit of The Meadows at Osborn Park released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. The audit findings are aiding law enforcement in the prosecution of former Fiscal Officer Lynn Langston for charges of theft and tampering with records.
“She tried to pull a fast one on taxpayers, but now she’ll face the law,” Auditor Yost said. “This case serves as an example for others – weak internal controls lead to sticky fingers.
The special audit reviewed records for the period of October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2013 to determine whether:
- facility receipts were properly recorded, posted and deposited intact;
- resident trust account deposits were credited to proper resident accounts; and
- expenditures and other withdrawals were supported and appropriate.
Auditors found that former Fiscal Officer Lynn Langston issued and endorsed five checks payable to “cash” totaling $7,950 that were not deposited into the petty cash fund and did not have any supporting documentation. There were no invoices or documentation to support the nature or purpose of the checks. In addition, Langston issued three checks totaling $757 to pay for residents’ expenses, but she failed to post the expenses to each resident’s trust accounts. This resulted in inflated account balances, and when the residents passed away, their account balances were distributed at inflated amounts. Findings for recovery totaling $8,707 were issued against Langston.
In September 2013, the Auditor of State’s office was contacted by the Erie County Administrator regarding potential theft of funds. An independent accounting firm hired by the county found unexplained variances in resident account balances when compared to monthly bank reconciliations. The Auditor of State’s office conducted a preliminary examination of the county’s records and the review done by the private accounting firm, and a special audit was launched on November 25, 2013.
The Auditor of State’s office worked with local law enforcement throughout the audit process, and in November, Langston was indicted on charges of theft in office and tampering with records.
A full copy of this special audit may be found 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.