Realtor pleads guilty to embezzlement uncovered by AP audit

The former office manager of an Athens, Georgia, branch of nationwide realty company Keller Williams recently pleaded guilty to embezzling $160,000 from the company in 2009, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

An accounts payable audit revealed Andrew Lee Loftis had misappropriated the funds in a number of different ways, including using a computer to make transfers from the firm's accounts, stealing rent checks, and taking a higher commission for the sale of a home than what was agreed upon.

The discrepancies were first noticed after Loftis left the company to start his own business. An AP audit was carried out after a partner detected financial irregularities and the police were brought in.

Loftis was sentenced to four years in prison and 15 years of probation. According to the news source, it's believed he resorted to embezzlement after the real estate market was hit by the recession.

Carrying out regular, routine AP audits can help companies pick up on embezzlement and other incongruities more quickly, which can mitigate losses.

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