School district tightens financial operations after embezzlement

A recent embezzlement case has prompted an Iowa school district to take a closer look at its financial controls, KWQC-TV reports.

In December of last year, Denise Babcock, a former administrator for the Clinton Community School District, was convicted of misappropriating more than $1 million in school funds.

"Working in schools … you believe everybody has the best interest and wants the same thing that you do," said Clinton Superintendent Deb Olson, as quoted by the news source.

Indeed, a major facilitator of embezzlement is lack of oversight – something school districts, municipalities and small businesses are particularly prone to.

"The biggest problem that the district had was that there was not enough accountability on (Babcock) – there (weren't) enough eyes watching what she was doing," added Olson.

Since Babcock's embezzlement came to light, the school district has hired a CFO to oversee its finances and taken other steps to make employees more accountable. These steps will help bolster the annual accounts payable audits that used to be its main way of identifying discrepancies.

Across the border in Illinois, the comptroller of the city of Dixon was recently arrested on charges that she had stolen more than $30 million in municipal funds. Improper checks and balances are thought to have contributed to the misappropriation, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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