The former executive director of Louisiana's Church Point Housing Authority (CPHA) was recently charged with embezzling more than $195,000 in government funds.
Sarah Robert misappropriated the funds between January 2009 and January 2011, when an accounts payable audit revealed inconsistencies in the housing authority's financial records.
According to The Advocate, the AP audit found Robert had embezzled the money in several different ways, including creating fraudulent invoices and submitting false documentation in order to claim higher bonuses. She collaborated with an accomplice who did not work for the CPHA.
After the findings of the internal audit came to light, the housing authority hired attorney Brad Andrus to look into the matter further. Speaking to KATC-TV, Andrus said although he was unable to comment directly on the case, his investigation into the CPHA's finances confirmed that embezzlement had occurred.
Robert, who had worked for the housing authority for a decade, was a trusted employee, which likely facilitated the misappropriation. Setting up a system of checks and balances – in conjunction with regular AP audits – can make it more difficult for workers to embezzle.