County departments report on fraud detection measures

Several county department heads provided an update about the county’s fraud detection policies and procedures during the Dec. 11 commission meeting.

County Manager Mendiola said the county has had fraud detection policies in place for some time. He recently updated the county’s fraud detection procedures for all county departments that handle money on a regular basis. He explained that any department that handled money presented an opportunity for fraud. The county’s road equipment could also be used inappropriately, according to Mendiola and Roads Superintendent Ben Garrett.

The county has had fraud detection policies, procedures and internal controls in place for some time, Mendiola said, but he wanted to make sure the commissioners and the public knew that the county does monitor for fraud.

County Clerk Tami Rae Spero explained that the Clerk’s Office has had minimum accounting standards in place for several years. Yearly audits are supplemented with separate audits every four years. The same process is used for justice court. Spero said the new court system will offer a more detailed way to track money.

County Comptroller Gina Rackley and County Treasurer Rhona Lecumberry explained how their departments monitor for fraud separately and as a team.

Rackley said all checks from the county have to clear exactly as issued, including name, date, address and amount. Rackley receives a daily report of checks that were altered in any way. For example, a county employee tried to convert a paper check to electronic check and the bank notified the county immediately. “It does work,” Rackley said. “You can’t change anything about how those checks were issued, because you guys approved that expenditure.”

Lecumberry said the Treasurer’s Office has had fraud filters on all of their bank accounts, and “everything has more than one set of eyes looking at it.” She went on to explain, “Drawers are counted by multiple people for cash coming in. We keep all of our cash receipts for...ever.” Her office balances the tills every day.

At least once per week the Comptroller’s office and Treasurer’s office balance their reports together to account for all money received and expended. Any inconsistencies appear on the monthly financial reports given to the commissioners.

“We try very hard to make sure that we don’t have any fraud here,” Lecumberry said.