AP audit finds severe misappropriation within fire department

The Linn-San Manuel Volunteer Fire Department is under investigation after an accounts payable audit revealed that it had intentionally misappropriated funds it received from Hidalgo County in California.

According to The Monitor, an audit was conducted after evidence arose of the misuse of money it receives as reimbursement from the county. More than $330,000 is believed to have been used for purposes other than those related to the fire department's operations. However, due to a fire that destroyed the station and financial records, officials have not been able to submit any documentation that disputes the audit report's claims. Investigators state that the department wrote checks totaling $2,535 for cleaning services, but in several instances, those checks were made payable to cash or used to make ATM withdrawals.

Additionally, writes the source, approximately $79,753 was used for authorized travel expenses, but several checks, totaling $3,706, for these purposes were made payable to cash as well. There were several other discrepancies listed in the report, and investigators said a lack of proper checks and balances led to the misappropriation.

KRGV-TV states that the volunteer fire department has lost a contract with Hildago County, as officials said the audit reports has left them with serious concerns about how the organization handled taxpayer money.

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