AP audit finds town clerk issued herself paychecks, did not deposit city funds

Dana Delaughter, the former town clerk for Ridgecrest, Louisiana, has been cited by an accounts payable audit for writing unauthorized paychecks to herself, failing to deposit city funds into Ridgecrest's bank account and misleading the town's board on financial statements.

According to The Natchez Democrat, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor was asked to conduct an audit after an outside auditor could not render an opinion on the town's financial statements because of missing documentation. Delaughter was placed on administrative leave without pay in November 2011 after the discrepancies were discovered, and subsequently terminated from her position in January.

The state auditor's report found that Delaughter issued herself three extra paychecks for a total of $1,865. The statement says that there was no supporting documentation for the payroll checks and that Delaughter had already been paid for all pay periods. Delaughter additionally failed to deposit utility and meter payments made by town citizens totaling $56,679, but recorded the funds as having been put into Ridgecrest's bank account. Further, the audit revealed she provided incorrect financial statements to the board of aldermen by intentionally overstating a total of $27,814 in utility collections.

The Democrat says that Delaughter is refusing to speak with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor at the request of her lawyer.

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