Former Parks and Recreation official accused of fraud

The widespread effects of fraudulent behavior can be felt by multiple staff members within a company. As most organizations entrust their payroll functions to single departments that are often led by one individual, it's difficult to monitor these fiscal responsibilities. There are, however, supportive tools that businesses can deploy to help mitigate the possibility of embezzlement, such as AP audits and accounts payable solutions. 

The Advance Rapids Press reported that a former Parks and Recreation clerk was recently accused of stealing more than $331,000 from Grand Rapids, Mich., city funds. Over the course of seven years, Deborah Salmon cleverly used her position as a department clerk to slowly embezzle money into her own account. Her duties included booking reservations for ball fields and coordinating payments for different sporting programs, according to the source.

Additionally, Salmon was responsible for performing bank deposits on behalf of the agency. Rather than accurately exchanging money, however, the accused manufactured fake reservations, which she then canceled. Rather than refunding the agency, she deposited the money into her own account. 

According to the source, positions were cut in order to compensate for the missing funds. Since the discovery of the embezzlement, however, the city has effectively recovered nearly $100,000 from an insurance agency. 

Salmon could face between 20 months to 20 years in prison as a result of her crime. The Rapidian noted that the city has also built safeguards into its public policies that should help prevent future mishandling of agency money. A City Commission position, for instance, is inspiring individuals who have served in a security capacity in the past to run for elected office. 

"There was an embezzlement in the Parks and Rec department and I believe my background in financial systems, computer security and auditing would help address that problem," Jerry DeMaagd, a Grand Rapids citizen who is running for office, told the news provider. 

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