An audit report on the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council released Monday shows there was more than $100,000 in thefts and damage to the city in 2014, mostly from employees.
The audit, prepared by Postlethwaite & Netterville and released by the Legislative Auditor’s Office, revealed Department of Public Works employees stole limestone from the city-parish department and caused more than $100,000 in damage during December. The limestone theft resulted in the largest loss of money to the city-parish out of three thefts to the city reported in 2014.
Department of Public Works employees delivered three loads of stolen limestone, which was valued at $1,200 per load, to a local business in December. The dump truck’s driver did not put down the bed of the truck when leaving the business, which led to multiple power lines and utility poles being damaged.
Donald R. Moore, 53, and Keith D. Harrison, 32, were both charged, according to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III.
City-parish officials told the auditors that dump truck keys will now be kept in a more secure location and that access to limestone will be limited as well.
Another theft occurred between October and December. A former supervisor with one of the city-parish’s contracted janitorial companies stole about $3,000 in checks at City Court that were headed to the City Constable’s Office, according to the audit.
Authorities arrested Tombra Mack, 47, on a count of attempted theft of more than $200. The city-parish is asking for restitution from the janitorial service company, Jani-Care Commercial Cleaning Inc., the audit says.
Constable Reginald Brown said his department found out about the stolen checks when a vendor called and said someone was trying to cash a check. They arrested the employee the next morning when she was on her way into work, he said.
Brown said this is the first time he can recall this happening. He also noted that DPW employees used to do janitorial services at City Court before the city-parish started hiring private companies to do the work.
To prevent this from happening in the future, city-parish officials told the auditors they will keep a log of checks that the City Court receives. Any checks the constable does not pick up on the day they are left will be kept in a safe.
“A process has been put in place that will make it a whole lot more difficult,” Brown said about the possibility of someone trying to steal checks in the future. “We look at ourselves in that building as a family. (When) one’s got a problem, we’ve all got a problem.”
The city-parish Finance Department was also missing $906 in sales tax payments, according to the audit.
City-parish Finance Director Marsha Hanlon said the missing money stems from two incidents. She said they believe one was a $500 miscount back to a customer.
Hanlon said they found in a second incident that they were missing $406, but that the police could not find enough evidence of there being a crime.
“We know money went missing and I can’t say whether someone took it or not,” Hanlon said.
The audit reports that the Finance Department’s internal controls allowed them to catch the missing money quickly. The Finance Department also has added cameras at the cashier section of its revenue department and rewritten the software that cashiers use for transactions.