A recent recovery audit conducted by the Missouri Office of the State Auditor found more than $500,000 missing from the property tax receipts of Schuyler County.
According to the Kansas City Star, state auditor Tom Schweich blamed "insufficient oversight and a failure to segregate duties" for the fact that the irregularities had gone unnoticed until the audit. The county's former collector, who had served in the role since 1987, is accused of misappropriating funds from 1992 onward.
Kathy Sue Roberts, who resigned in August, pleaded not guilty to the allegations in October. According to auditors, Roberts did not deposit tax receipt funds, issued personal checks to herself from the collector's official bank account and altered tax book entries to disguise her actions.
KTVO-TV reports that the county is currently working with a local insurance company and bonding company to recoup its losses. The county attributes its difficulty in identifying the alleged embezzlement to false information reported to the county clerk's office.
Often, bookkeepers, managers and other employees in a position of authority find it easy to misappropriate funds because of inadequate checks and balances. Organizations can mitigate this by dividing responsibilities between staff members and carrying out regular accounts payable audits.