The San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District has been saved, thanks to a recent vote by the Local Agency Formation Commission. The department was in jeopardy after two former employees embezzled $650,000 from its accounts.
According to The Daily Journal, an accounts payable audit conducted last year found that two employees, who served as the district's finance director and bookkeeper, had worked together in a scheme to steal taxpayer funds. Jo Ann Dearman and Vika Sinipata overpaid themselves through payroll checks, used the department's credit cards to make personal purchases and wired money directly into their bank accounts. Dearman had previously been convicted for embezzling from two past employers, but since the district did not implement a background check, these infractions went unnoticed, says the news source.
The Local Agency Formation Commission voted 6 to 1 to save the department, which otherwise would have been forced to shut down operations and move all of its money and responsibilities to San Mateo County, reports Mercury News. The organization now conducts background screenings for all new employees and has redesigned its financial controls system in order to prevent more thefts from occurring.