A state audit has found over $100,000 in money that was allegedly stolen by a former billing clerk in the north-central Iowa town of Garner. State Auditor Dave Vaudt says the audit covered five years of city receipt records from 2006 to 2011.
He says the city officials requested the audit after they found some discrepancies in the billing when the clerk was absent. Vaudt says they found just over $112,000 in undeposited collections related to the commercial accounts for utilities and garbage bags.
Billing clerk Tammy Brant was put on unpaid leave in February and fired on March first. Vaudt says Brant manipulated the billing for her own benefit. Vaudt says she would switch receipts around and was also taking bills an manually changing them to increase the amount due to a customer, and then she would keep the difference. He says the utility customers ended up being a victim along with the city.
He says the customer was overpaying for their utility service and will probably expect a refund from the city. Vaudt says Brant handled the accounts herself and that allowed her to manipulate things for several years before she was caught. Vaudt says as is typical for small communities, there needs to be more checks and balances as one individual often controls a lot.
He says in some cases elected city officials need to get involved to add more review of the transactions and they could help identify some problems. Vaudt says the findings of the audit were based on a portion of the receipts, and it is possible there could be more problems.
Vaudt says the audit information has been turned over to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. See the complete audit report here.