A state audit has found that thousands of dollars in fees paid to the state for birth certificates cannot be found, and a state clerk is under investigation. The missing money was paid to the Department of Public Health between July 1st, 2001 and February 29th of last year. “Obviously, we are deeply concerned in regards to the allegations of misappropriations and as we look at it and as you re-look at the auditor’s report, we do believe that it was stolen,” says Janet Zwick, a top administration in the Iowa Department of Public Health. A department employee was “terminated” because of the theft, according to Zwick. Patricia Burgett was fired in March of last year after she admitted to investigators that she had not deposited about $1400 in birth certificate fees. The Audit found $132,515 under her control had not been deposited. The scheme came to the attention of state workers when a parent called to say they had received their child’s birth certificate, but their check had not yet been cashed. “We did immediately investigate and we asked both the Department of Criminal Investigation as well as the Auditor to come in and investigate,” she says. Copies of the Auditor’s report have been filed with the Polk County Attorney and the Iowa Attorney General’s office. Iowans used to pay 10 dollars for a birth certificate. On July 1st, 2003, the fee was raised to 15 dollars.
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