ARDMORE — A supervisor at the Carter County district attorney's office has been fired and state investigators are looking into possible embezzlement there, authorities said.
District Attorney Craig Ladd would not name the fired employee, but said the investigation was opened after a state audit last fall revealed a long list of questionable activity with multiple finance accounts in the office.
The fired employee was a supervisor of the office's bogus check program, which collects restitution from people convicted of passing bad checks and remits the funds to the victims.
She also managed additional restitution programs, monthly fees by those on court-ordered supervision and the office's property forfeiture program, Ladd said.
Ladd recused himself from the investigation, and the district attorney assigned to look into it — Emily Redman, of Bryan County — requested the assistance of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The audit report released in August, plus conversations with auditors, revealed serious concerns about the office's account balances and practices, Redman said, “enough that I felt like law enforcement needed to look into it.”
She said she was specifically concerned about $435,000 in write-offs logged by the bogus check division during fiscal years 2009 and 2010, and $8,500 in funds that were marked as received by the office in fiscal year 2010 but never deposited with the county treasurer.
The fired supervisor told auditors she would sometimes log onto the account's management software with the user name and password of other office employees without their knowledge, according to the report.
Some of the other concerns identified by the audit report include:
• A single person in Carter County and each of the district's outlying counties — Love, Murray, Johnston and Marshall counties — was responsible for handling cash, making deposits and reconciling accounts.
• Reporting errors within restitution and district attorney fee accounts.
• A lack of inventory system in place to track forfeited or seized property.
• Premature destruction of bogus check records, in violation of state law.
Each of these contributed to a high-risk environment for misstatement of accounts or misappropriation of funds, according to the report.
Ladd said he has updated the office's policies and procedures to provide more oversight and to address concerns outlined in the report.
Deposits and receipts are now handled and logged by multiple office employees, deposits are completed daily, restitution payments and checks are photocopied, and documents are to be maintained in accordance with state law, Ladd said.
He said employees are no longer permitted to use another employee's user name and password when accessing computerized account data, and write-offs of money owed by probationers or defendants must be approved by him or his assistant district attorneys in each of the district's counties.