The former finance director of Wood River, Illinois, was recently charged with theft over $100,000, money laundering and official misconduct after an accounts payable audit found that she had embezzled nearly $143,000 from the city.
Leslie Dona misappropriated the money by issuing unauthorized checks to herself. She had been employed by the city for 17 years and was "very well-regarded," according to Mayor Fred Ufert, as quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
To hide her actions, Dona destroyed records, created false reports, and altered software, according to Wood River police chief Otis Steward. Although two outside accounting firms conducted annual AP audits on the city's finances, the investigations failed to identify the embezzlement due to her trickery.
Last month, Dona avoided coming into work to dodge a meeting with an auditor who had uncovered discrepancies. This prompted investigators to look into payroll disbursements, which led to the subsequent discovery of the fund misappropriation.
Dona's case underscores the need for companies to conduct thorough AP audits at regular intervals. Leveraging AP analysis software such as Technology Insight's DataShark AP can help formulate detailed reports and engage in comprehensive vendor breakdowns.