Audit finds California state employees misappropriated taxpayer funds

While overseeing all finances and transactions for state governments is a difficult task, efforts must be made to maintain tight fiscal control. By failing to do this, officials can experience losses in federal funds and instances of misappropriation. Such was the case with the state of California, as an accounts payable audit revealed that many government employees had been improperly managing money.

According to The Associated Press, a recently released audit report revealed that many state workers engaged in illegal financial activity. The investigation was conducted after the California State Auditor's Office received approximately 7,238 complaints of misappropriation from various departments and agencies. State Auditor Elaine Howle told the source that her office looked into 1,500 of these reports, and found that employees had engaged in a variety of improper fiscal behavior. Many instances dealt with aspects such as duplicate payments, embezzlement and falsifying financial records, and the auditor's office has charged the workers responsible for their illegal activity. The investigations are still ongoing, and they could reveal
further evidence of financial misconduct, writes the source.

KABC-TV reports that the biggest case that the audit found regarded employees of both the California Secretary of State's office and Franchise Tax Board. An unnamed courier paid one staff member in each of these departments to provide him with hundreds of documents from the agencies. These papers normally cost between $15 – $20 a piece for processing, but through the illegal scheme, the state saw a loss of more than $227,000. The news source writes that the three individuals involved in the scheme have been found guilty and sentenced to community service and probation. They have also been ordered to pay back the full amount in restitution.

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