Report details irregular transactions in Routt County Treasurer’s Office
April 29, 2014
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday accepted and made public a report that summarized a nearly year-long investigation of whether funds collected by the Treasurer's Office were deposited into Routt County bank accounts.
Routt County Attorney John Merrill said the report and other county financial documents were handed over to the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, and that office will make a determination whether to investigate the issue further.
The District Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment.
The investigation reviewed transactions between February 2012 and May 31, 2013, and was initiated after current Treasurer Brita Horn, who was appointed in October 2012, identified certain transactions as irregular.
Merrill said the Treasurer’s Office was preparing for its yearly audit when the irregular transactions were discovered, and the county approached its auditor, McMahan and Associates, about finding a firm to investigate the matter.
McMahan and Associates agreed to look into the transactions and came up with three procedures to determine if funds collected by the Treasurer's Office "may not have been deposited to county bank accounts."
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The accounting firm compared reports generated for the office's cash drawers at the end of each day to the amounts deposited in the county's bank accounts. It found a number of days when the total amount deposited was consistent between the daily reports and bank records but where breakdown of cash and checks showed discrepancies.
On 100 days during the investigation period, there was less cash deposited than expected, but it was offset by the exact amount extra in the check portion of the day's deposits. The total discrepancy for those days was $6,548.38. On 25 days, there was more cash than expected offset by less than expected in check deposits, with a total discrepancy of $3,794.95.
The firm investigated further the days when there was less cash than expected. On the days when the discrepancy was more than $10, there were three causes for the variances: errors in receipts, deposits without receipts and voided transactions, the report noted.
The report also revealed that while the discrepancies might occur on occasion because of errors or oversights, it is uncertain how those situations would result in a bank deposit that matched the expected amount "without either reporting 'over/short' differences or manipulation of the components of the actual daily receipts."
According to the report, receipts for each drawer were balanced against deposits using an over/short cash bag that was "operated outside of county financial records."
"In addition, current Treasurer's Office staff asserted that a former staff member recorded 'voids' to balance her total receipts against deposits," the report stated.
Noting that there were only two instances during the investigation period where drawers were reported as over or short, the report stated that it appears manipulation of daily receipts had taken place.
The accounting firm's report states that it is not an audit, and as such, does not give an amount for what funds might not have been deposited in Routt County's bank accounts. Merrill also declined to provide a dollar amount, citing the county had handed over the investigation to the District Attorney's Office.