Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2004

Police look into chamber thefts

Audit uncovers discrepancies

December 23, 2004

A police investigation is under way into the alleged theft of funds from the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce.

An audit report submitted last month by DeMaranville & Kramer CPAs noted discrepancies - and the alleged thefts - in several areas of operation between Jan. 1, 2003, and Oct. 31 of this year.

"While the financial discrepancies are serious, they will not greatly impact the stability of the Chamber's operation," chamber president Tom Throne said in a letter to the membership last week.

Among the discrepancies:

¢ The employee in question had switched a chamber-paid cellular phone plan from a rate of $9.99 per month to $99.99 per month. The employee's parents also were given cellular telephones on the chamber's account. The amount due to the chamber for the expenditures, auditors said, was $4,718.

¢ Two checks on the account "Payroll Expenses - Other" were written for $654.49 in August and September of this year. Both cleared the bank with the payee listed as the employee. Neither check had been approved by the chamber's management, auditors said.

¢ Two checks - one for $450, the other for $500 - had been written to the employee from the chamber's Gift Certificate fund. Neither had been approved, auditors said.

Charlie Gregor Jr., executive vice president of the chamber, said the employee was dismissed Oct. 31. He said he couldn't otherwise comment while an investigation was ongoing.

Maj. Pat Kitchens, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department, said a detective was assigned to the case but no charges have been filed and no arrests made.

"There has been some preliminary work done," Kitchens said.

He said once the detective's investigation was completed, a report would be forwarded to the Leavenworth County Attorney's Office for prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

Throne, in his letter to the chamber membership, said "substantial restitution" already has been made, though no details were given.

He also said that as a result of the audit, the chamber's board of directors approved several steps the chamber will take:

¢ That all recommendations in handling the finances of the chamber, including a defined separation of duties, dual signatures and consistent use of Quickbooks for financials, be implemented immediately.

¢ That legal charges be filed for the recovery of funds.

¢ That appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible for the failure to adequately supervise the financial management of the chamber's funds and the office personnel.

¢ That bonding insurance be obtained for all office personnel and signatories on the checkbook.

¢ That written leases should be obtained for all rentals - offices and apartments - a the chamber building.

¢ That the executive vice president conduct an orientation for all officers regarding their responsibilities when they take office.

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