The Franklin County Public Works Department in Washington has lost approximately $2.84 million after a former employee embezzled funds from the municipality.
According to KEPR-TV, an accounts payable audit revealed that Dennis Huston, who served as the department's head of accounting, had stolen the money by creating a false company and billing the county for services that were never rendered by the business. The news source reports that the illegal activity came to light when the department was required by the IRS to collect the tax identification numbers of vendors. When one vendor, the company that Huston had created, could not be reached, an investigation was launched, which led to the firing and arrest of Huston.
The Tri-City Herald writes that Huston's company, Critzer Equipment, had received payments from the department for supplies which were ultimately never delivered. The AP audit report states that Huston began the embezzlement in 1996, but investigators can not determine the full amount that he stole since financial records only go back to 2002. The county has since implemented more internal controls over its accounting processes, according to the newspaper.