A recently released accounts payable audit indicates that the former fiscal officer of the village of Trimble, Ohio, embezzled nearly $62,000 between 2007 and 2009.
Debra Barry misappropriated the funds by cashing 151 checks to herself, and may have failed to remit tax withholdings, which is likely to lead to the village having to pay penalties and interest payments. Trimble – which has a population of less than 400 residents according to last year's census – did not keep a payroll register, which made it impossible to determine the precise amount that should have been remitted. The Ohio Department of Taxation is currently investigating the issue.
After Barry's embezzlement was discovered last year, she pleaded guilty to forgery, records tampering, securing writings by deception, theft, and theft in office. She received a sentence of four years in prison for her crime.
Conducting regular AP audits can help identify and minimize fund misappropriation in government as well as in corporate settings, whether it's caused by embezzlement or honest mistakes. In addition to facilitating tighter financial controls, AP audits can also save money by negating the need for a future recovery audit.