AP audit reveals extensive financial mismanagement at Virginia school

Earlier this year, the former bookkeeper of a Staunton, Virginia, high school was arrested on felony counts of embezzlement. The accounts payable audit that uncovered her actions also revealed a plethora of insufficient accounting controls at Robert E. Lee High School, and more than $6,400 was found to be missing from funds raised by students during the 2011 fiscal year.

The AP audit found that the bookkeeper – Lisa Michelle Harrison – used the school's debit card for personal expenses such as groceries and did not keep invoices in order. She subsequently committed suicide.

Another school employee, athletic director Kaye Roberts, was placed on paid administrative leave because she was "the closest in proximity to student funds," said Staunton school superintendent Steven Nichols, as quoted by the News Leader.

Audit findings quoted by the news source noted that the lack of checks and balances cultivated "an environment conducive to improper handling and recording of cash receipts transactions and to an increased risk of misappropriations of cash receipts."

The News Virginian reports that the school plans to submit an insurance claim to recoup the missing funds.  

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