Tulsa - An audit report released from the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector's Office on Monday raised questions about tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds under the control of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. Among the findings, one employee was paid more than $36,000 after being terminated, and the department failed to account for almost $200,000 in the Tulsa County Jail's inmate fund.
Missing Inmate Trust Account Funds
The audit of fiscal year 2015 included some repeat findings. County personnel reported concerns over missing inmate funds during the regular annual audit of the department.
"...known amounts payable upon inmates' release and other liabilities exceeded the bank balance by approximately $188,877," said the report. "It appears these funds are unaccounted for."
In another repeat finding, auditors said the jail inmate trust process failed to comply with state statutes, led to misappropriation of assets and errors that have gone undetected. The report cited a lack of controls for deposits, expenditures or cash transactions.
"There are no controls over cash received via mail," said auditors regarding funds sent to the jail for inmates.
The Tulsa County District Attorney announced in January a forensic audit into the missing money.
Inadequate Internal Controls Over Payroll
In the case of the employee who was paid for nearly a year after termination, the audit cites a lack of policies and procedures to ensure payroll duties are properly segregated and monitored. The Tulsa County Clerk's office responded, saying a lack of staffing made it necessary for employees to perform a multitude of duties. Auditors recommended segregating certain payroll duties among the clerk's office's limited staff.
Inadequate Controls Over Donations and Expenditures
The audit also found the sheriff's office failed to comply with state statutes and county policies when it signed a $252,000 contract with a medical provider that performed physical exams at a cost of $800 per exam.
"During the fiscal year 2012, the Sheriff's office changed the provider of services for physical exams to a company that employed the wife of the Undersheriff at that time as a physician," said the report. "These conditions resulted in noncompliance with state statutes and county policies."
The department has since canceled that contract and plans to sign a deal with a provider for $90 per exam - a savings of nearly 800 percent.
Inspectors noted the department accepted donations from a vendor that provided software services and inmate meals for the sheriff's office.State statute requires such gifts to be brought before the Board of County Commissioners in a public meeting.
Auditors also listed deficiencies in the court clerk's office's accounting for court funds. Inspectors said having one person responsible for recording, authorizing and storing assets could result in errors, misappropriation or misstatements.
The audit also found employees were given excessive access to computer software, increasing risk to county computers.
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