A special investigation by State Auditor Mary Mosiman’s office finds the former finance coordinator for the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Central Iowa (SATUCI) used some high-tech methods to take money from the organization.
SATUCI is a non-profit agency providing substance abuse prevention and treatment services to the residents of Marshall, Tama, Poweshiek and Hardin counties from offices in Marshalltown, Toledo, Grinnell, and Eldora. Mosiman says her office was called in to investigate after others in the organization noticed some credit card transactions and deposits by Amy Trainer, and they found some transactions that were improper.
She says they identified $46,710 of undeposited cash collections and $36,148 of improper disbursements for a total impact of $82,859. Mosiman says the former finance coordinator used some modern technology to funnel the money to herself.
“The improper disbursements were primarily purchases from vendors that were payments to Miss Amy Trainer’s personal bank account,” Mosiman explains. “And she used a Square account. This is the first time that we’ve seen this type of improper disbursement — so it’s something that we are going to be aware of from this point forward — as well as making sure the organization’s are aware of.” Square is a device that can be put on a cellphone or other electronic device to accept credit card transactions.
She says individuals with a Square account can use any they desire and Trainer created a couple of accounts for the Square to make it look like the money was going to the organization, when it was in fact going to her personal bank account. Mosiman says the use of the Square could easily go unnoticed.
“If you are looking at bank statements it is recognizable, because for each of the transactions, the SQ is in the credit card statement indicating that it is a credit card payment,” according to Mosiman. “But you do have to be looking for that and be aware of what that SQ means.”
Trainer left work on July 20th, 2016 and did not return. Copies of the report have been filed with the Marshalltown Police Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Marshall County Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office.
Mosiman says they’ve never seen this type of technology used to take money from an organization, and will now work to educate organizations about it. “We are going to make sure that we keep on top of it and do what we can to inform our government agencies to be aware of that as they themselves are looking at their individual bank statements and credit card statements,” Mosiman says. She says they made recommendations to the organization to have more oversight of the financial situation so that one person is not handling all the transactions.