Thousands of dollars in missing funds, altered financial documents and lax oversight by local officials were among the significant findings released today in an audit of the Village of Leasburg by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.
The audit, a result of a citizens’ petition, recommends that the Village of Leasburg Board of Trustees work with law enforcement officials to pursue possible criminal prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the missing funds, which total nearly $10,000.
“This audit makes clear that public money was stolen and financial records were altered in an attempt to cover-up the missing cash,” Auditor Galloway said. “This audit also finds severely inadequate oversight by the Board of Trustees that allowed these acts to go unnoticed.”
Among the audit’s findings, auditors found that between 2011 and 2013, receipt slips totaling $9,971 were issued for money collected by the village; however, these dollars were never deposited into village bank accounts and cannot be accounted for. Additionally, it was discovered that nearly 190 various financial records were altered over a three day period in February 2014 in an apparent attempt to account for these missing funds.
“The citizens of this community were right to request this audit, and I applaud their commitment to demanding transparency and accountability from their local government,” Auditor Galloway said. “I also appreciate the dedicated audit staff who left no stone unturned in seeking the truth. At the conclusion of the audit my office provided the information collected to the appropriate authorities and local law enforcement for further review and action."
The audit also discovered potential improper activity by the board chairperson for involvement in the process by which several relatives were hired to work for the village. Auditors also raised concerns with village accounting practices and inappropriate use of water and sewer funds to subsidize general village operations. Other finding areas included an absence of annual audits, budgets that did not meet certain requirements under state law, and a lack of oversight for village functions.
This audit report gives the Village of Leasburg a performance rating of "poor." The complete report is available here.