The Florida Attorney General's Office recently released a final state report regarding financial mismanagement within Heartland Crimestoppers, which covers Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties, according to the Lakeland Ledger.
An investigation conducted by the news source earlier this year uncovered numerous discrepancies, including duplicate payments, nepotism, a disregard of state bidding rules, and irregular accounts receivable practices that led to double billing.
Specifically, an analysis of agency records revealed that its executive director, Wayne Cross, had given approximately $260,000 worth of printing jobs to his former brother-in-law without seeking bids from other vendors, according to a separate article by the news source.
Following the publication of the findings, Cross resigned from his position, along with five board members. The AG's office accepted a portion of the responsibility for the mismanagement, citing insufficient oversight, but maintained that Heartland's board of directors should be held accountable for their failure to adequately monitor the organization's operations, the newspaper reports.
Funding for the program has been temporarily suspended while the organization gets its affairs in order, which includes reimbursing the Polk County Sheriff's Office for more than $7,500 that was double-billed to the state.