Letter to the Editor:
I am writing this letter in response to numerous questions that I have been asked, which I could not answer, as to how over $50,000.00 could have stolen from the Tama County Sheriff s Office. The following information is of public record and can be found on the Iowa State Auditor's web site at: http:// auditor. iowa.gov/specials./index.htmi.
The following is a summary of what I learned:
On May 17, 2010 the State Auditor released a report of a special investigation, conducted by the Auditor, of certain money collections of the Tama County Sheriff's Office and the Tama County Clerk of Court between January 1, 2007 and August 31, 2009. This investigation was conducted at the request of the Judicial Department. The report indicates that $6,500.00 in cash bonds received by the Sheriffs Office was not recorded on the bond receipt log at the Clerk's Office. The report stated that the Auditor could not determine if the bond money was properly remitted to the Clerks Office by the Sheriff's Office or if the money had not been properly recorded in the Clerk's Office.
On June 28, 2011 the State Auditor released a second report of a special investigation of the Tama County Sheriff's Office. This report covered a period between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010 and certain transactions prior to January 1, 2007 for which records were available. The Auditor's report shows $46,752.15 of undeposited collections and unbilled room and board fees. The Auditors report states "it was not possible to determine if additional collections were not deposited because adequate records were not available."
These reports show that copies were filed with the Tama County Attorney's Office the Iowa Attorney General's Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Having worked in the sheriffs office as a deputy and as the sheriff for nearly 26 years, 1974 to 2000, I had some knowledge of how money previously was received and deposited through the sheriff's office and that a private auditing firm, hired by the county, conducted an annual audit of sheriff's financial transactions, I was able to locate this firms reports dating from 2004 through 2010.
In each of those years the auditing firm noted that generaliv one or two individuals in the office may have control over areas for which no compensating controls exist.
The firms report lists the following: "Bank accounts should be reconciled promptly at end of each month by an individual who does not sign checks, handle or record cash." "Checks should be signed by an individual who does not otherwise participate in the preparation of the checks. "Each official should review the control procedures of their office to obtain the maximum internal control possible."
The private auditing firm made the following recommendation: "Each official should review the control procedures of their office to obtain the maximum internal control possible under the circumstances." "The official should utilize current personnel to provide additional control through review of financial transactions, reconciliations and reports." "Such reviews should be performed by independent persons to the extent possible, and should be evidenced by initials or signature of the reviewer and the date of the reviews."
If you review the State Auditors Investigative Reports and the reports by the private auditing firm it is apparent that the recommendations by the private firm from these years were not implemented by the sheriff. It appears that someone was not paying attention to the financial responsibilities of the sheriffs office which includes collection of fees which are to be used to oftset the expenditure of yours and my tax dollars. I believed that this responsibility fell upon myself as the Sheriff