When public officials hold high-powered offices, establishing unilateral control over their organizations' funds is typically a common practice. Without careful maintenance of these accounts, however, issues of fraud and embezzlement can arise.
According to The Washington Post, Sonya Swansbrough, school principal of Poe Middle School in Fairfax County, Va., and her financial aide, Bethany Speed, have been accused of "falsifying timesheets for personal financial gain." A sum of $100,000 is believed to have been filtered into their accounts through money laundering and accounts payable fraud.
Community members and other school officials are shocked by the allegations. The source reported that School Board Member Sandy Evans claimed that Swansbrough "has been terrific" and was a popular among the students.
NBC Washington reported that both Swansbrough and Speed have been relieved of their positions. The trial is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2014.
Although it's difficult to account for every instance of possible theft and embezzlement, AP audits can help organizations mitigate the risk of fraud. When individuals hold positions of power and have ultimate authority over a company's resources, they can easily become a liability.