A special investigation by State Auditor Dave Vaudt found several thousand dollars in improper transactions by the former assistant director of the University of Northern Iowa’s UNItix ticket office. University officials contacted the auditor after someone called and said they had not received the athletic tickets they purchased.

Vaudt says the audit by his office found that John Gogola was taking money that was meant for things like theater and football tickets.

“He did it primarily by issuing refunds to his own personal credit card, almost $17,000 was issued to his personal credit card to take money from other accounts,” Vaudt explained.

Gogola left the Cedar Falls school in August of 2010 before the problem was discovered. Vaudt says there could be more improper transactions, but it was hard to sort through all the information.

“He went through a very complicated scheme where actually we found almost 300 improper transactions that he posted, he kept switching from one account to another account,” Vaudt says. He says there were a few people who lost about $1,300 of their money from the transactions.

The audit covered August 2008 through August 2010. Vaudt says Gogola did bring in a personal check for nearly $1,000 after he had left U.N.I. and other employees called him and questioned him about one of the transactions. Vaudt made some suggestions to U.N.I. to improve their system to avoid future problems.

Those suggestions included segregating the duties in the ticket office to ensure oversight, and he suggested the university look at its system to ensure that ticket pricing is entered correctly and that voided and returned tickets are handled appropriately. U.N.I. issued a statement saying the school is contacting anyone who may’ve lost money and will mail them checks to cover the stolen funds.

The university statement also said it will seek restitution from Gogola, and has already instituted most of the recommendations made by the auditor.

The results of the audit have been turned over to the University’s Department of Public Safety, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office.

See the complete audit report here: UNItix report PDF