Routine AP audit reveals $38,000 embezzlement

A woman who worked as the bank technician of a California high school for nearly a decade was recently arrested for allegedly embezzling from the organization, the Mercury News reports.

Mae Laureta Gardina was in charge of making bank deposits, reconciling statements and managing the financial records of student body activities and clubs at Milpitas High School. According to a job description quoted by the news source, she was required to "receive, verify, record and deposit (Associated Student Body) monies and co-curricular fees to the appropriate account."

She is alleged to have misappropriated more than $38,000 between April and June of last year. Staff from the Milpitas Unified School District first identified irregularities in August, while conducting an accounts payable audit as part of their annual closing of the books at the end of the school year. Investigators zeroed in on Gardina by examining who had access to funds and a familiarity with the school's accounting practices.

Setting up checks and balances to avoid giving one worker too much control can significantly reduce the likelihood of embezzlement from any organization. Conducting regular AP audits can help to quickly identify misappropriation, thereby mitigating losses. 

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