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|DA seeks more info on Ferriday check scheme|
The District Attorney's office has requested additional information from the Louisiana Legislative Audit Advisory Council on an alleged check substitution scheme concerning the Town of Ferriday.
Paul Scott, Director of Criminal Operations for the DA's office, said today (Wednesday) that "we do not have enough information to make a determination. We don't have any evidence concerning any particular person who may have been involved."
The DA's office was asked by the Legislative Auditor in a letter postmarked February 23 to review the alleged check substitution scheme which occurred during the administration of former Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen.
The DA was asked to respond in 30 days and was specifically asked to review the town's employment of a clerk who legislative auditors said last spring was "concealing" cash. The audit also criticized Allen for making "no changes to stop the theft" of that clerk.
"We were asked to respond to the Legislative Auditor in 30 days and we're responding with a request for more information," said Scott.
Allen said last month that four different employees collected the payments in question and that when the auditors visited "they had to bring their own" computer because of a glitch in a town computer.
"There is no way I could track that money to anybody," said Allen.
The Legislative Audit released last year said cash received from Ferriday utility customers was missing, and cited a check substitution scheme and a host of other accounting problems.
Auditors examined town utility records over a period of nine days selected at random in 2007 and learned, said the Legislative Auditor, that cash collected from customers totaling $3,568 was missing and that payments received on those days were more than the amounts deposited in the town's bank accounts.
Records were audited in 2007 on two days in February, three days in April, two days in June, one day in October and one day in November.
To cover missing cash, auditors said the check substitution scheme -- which may have begun in October 2004 -- was implemented in which funds deposited were less than payments received, and that certain checks "were received and deposited in the town's bank accounts but were not recorded in the utility system. These checks were substituted for the missing cash."
In some cases, customer billing records were either deleted "or payment posted as a credit at a later date to conceal the missing cash."
Customer billing stubs accompanying "these payments made by check were missing but the checks received were deposited."
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