A report from State Auditor David Vaudt shows the former assistant concessions director at the University of Northern Iowa was stealing from the school. Vaudt did an audit at the request of the Cedar Falls school.
Vaudt says,” UNI placed a surveillance camera in the concessions office and we were able to see the former assistant concessions director actually take cash out of the safe and place it in his pocket. Amazingly a few days later when he was arrested there was that amount of cash still in his pocket, still paperclipped the same way that the cash was held in the safe. However there was no way to know if it was the same cash.”
James Kehl was fired from his job at UNI after he was caught on camera. Vaudt says Kehl may’ve taken much more money than the $200 he was seen taking on the video. “Our investigation revealed that in about a five-year period Mr. Kehl deposited over 17-thousand dollars worth of cash to his personal bank accounts,” Vaudt says.
“And we also found that subsequent to his departure from UNI — the four months following that — he had absolutely no cash deposits. We took a look at the different events going on at UNI during that time frame that would have had cash collections and there were several of those events within five days of the cash deposits he made to his own accounts.”
Vaudt says there is no way to positively prove those cash deposits were money stolen from the university. Kehl did plead guilty to 4th-degree theft and was given a deferred judgment and ordered to pay $200 in restitution and court costs of $540.
The auditor made several suggestions to help prevent future theft. “One is making sure that cash is collected and then locked in bank bags so noone can have access to cash after it is actually collected and counted. And then also maybe using a point of sale system and doing better inventory counts. Several things they could do to help improve the controls there,” Vaudt says.
He says concessions operations in particular require good oversight. “When you have a lot of cash collections like that, it makes it very difficult,” according the Vaudt. “But if you do a good inventory system and count your inventory that’s in the system and then count it afterwards, you should be able to approximate what your sales should be in cash.”
The questionable deposits cited in Vaudt’s report happened between April 18 of 2007 and February of 2012. See the complete audit report here: UNI audit PDF