AP audit crackdown could help combat Vermont’s spate of embezzlement cases

It's been a rough few years for Vermont auditor Tom Salmon, as a number of embezzlement schemes came to light across the state, the Burlington Free Press reports.

These include the misappropriation of $1.6 million from the office manager of the town of Hardwick's electric department, the Bakersfield town clerk's embezzlement of $475,000 and the Ira town treasurer's theft of $404,000.

The most recent case involved Tonya Drury, district cashier for the Bethel/Royalton Solid Waste Facility, according to a separate article by the news source. Drury pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge in U.S. District Court last month after misappropriating $173,000 in cash receipts over a number of years. She covered her tracks by altering the facility's computerized accounting records, hiding the financial inconsistencies from accounts payable audits.

Last year, Salmon created a 10-member municipal advisory committee to address embezzlement. The committee recently drew up legislation that would require a certified or public accountant to audit municipal accounts, in hopes that more thorough AP audits will identify a higher percentage of financial misappropriation cases and dissuade potential embezzlers from breaking the law.

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