An investigation into a shortage of funds came to light in December.
The Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of Investigations Financial Compliance Unit, “in coordination with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office,” began looking into the matter where “a cash shortage of $2,702 ... existed” in the Polk office.
According to a report of investigative finding from the Comptroller’s office, “This cash shortage resulted from a former employee voiding cash receipts totaling $1,322, after issuing and collecting funds for the amount of the receipt. These funds were not credited to customer cases or otherwise accounted for.”
“Furthermore, we determined at least $1,390 of applicable fees was eliminated (zeroed out) with no documentation to support the clearing of the fees. It appears these fees were eliminated to conceal a theft of funds. These voided receipts and elimination of fees were not supported by case files or rule docket entries,” according to the report.
The report also noted the suspected employee resigned a deputy clerk’s position Nov. 8, 2012.
The Comptroller’s Office report also indicated each clerk had a unique computer court system log-in. Transactions could be connected to a specific deputy clerk’s log-in.
According to Drew Robinson of the 10th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office, he said no formal charges have been filed as of yet but the case could go to a Polk grand jury.
“I believe the case will be resolved very soon and the person responsible will be held accountable,” Robinson said.
Polk County Clerk Connie Clark issued a management response in the report.
“I am very disappointed in the individual responsible for the discrepancies in this audit. As an elected county official, I cannot and will not tolerate anyone who conducts any wrongful transactions in their official capacity as a deputy clerk. Hopefully we can work with local government and try to correct some of the computer programs. They must be revised to help eliminate individuals from concealing the discrepancies in their working capacities.”
The Comptroller’s Office suggested individual cash drawers as a way to alleviate the issue and Clark indicated the office is in the process of establishing the means for each employee to be “responsible for their own cash drawer.”