Wednesday, December 16, 2015
State auditor: $65,000 missing from Carl Junction Municipal Court
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the City of Carl Junction Municipal Court, located in Jasper County. The audit has uncovered at least $65,373 in missing funds. The audit was requested by city officials after the municipal court judge found discrepancies in a case file and raised concerns regarding the conduct of the former court clerk. City officials continue to work with local law enforcement to pursue criminal prosecution related to the missing funds.
“The former court clerk took advantage of her position to defraud the people of Carl Junction, and when those in positions of public trust abuse their power, they must be held accountable," Auditor Galloway said. "In addition to pursuing criminal charges, local leaders have also taken steps to address the underlying issues that allowed this fraud to go undetected, and my audit includes additional recommendations to prevent this kind of misconduct in the future.
The audit found at least $65,373 in payments to the court that were received by the former court clerk, but never deposited into court bank accounts. This includes more than $19,000 in cash bonds collected by the police department. Significant weaknesses in accounting procedures and inadequate oversight of court operations allowed this misconduct to go unnoticed for years. Inadequate record-keeping, files that appear to be intentionally disorganized, and discrepancies between documents found in the municipal court office and amounts recorded in the court's system lead auditors to believe there is potentially another $30,000 missing.
Auditors also found issues with the municipal court’s electronic data security policies. The former court clerk and a city employee shared the same username and password to enter court receipts into the computer system. In addition, employees were not required to periodically change their passwords, a process that helps ensure passwords remain known only to the user.
The audit, which includes a performance rating of "poor," is online here. The City of Carl Junction Municipal Court is part of the 29th Judicial Circuit.