Officials in Callaway County have taken steps to better protect taxpayer money, Auditor Galloway finds

Auditor releases follow-up report after earlier audit determined former collector misappropriated more than $300,000

A follow-up report from State Auditor Nicole Galloway has found that officials in Callaway County have taken action on her recommendations to increase oversight and better protect taxpayer dollars. The Auditor's Office issued the report after an audit last fall determined former County Collector Pam Oestreich had misappropriated more than $300,000 in taxpayer funds.

"Our audits provide recommendations for officials to put in place increased oversight and better safeguards for public dollars, and that's especially important after fraud occurs," Auditor Galloway said. "By implementing the recommendations of the audit, Callaway County officials are working to protect those taxpayer dollars and restore the trust of citizens." 

Oestreich was sentenced in March to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $380,000 in restitution. Information from the audit was provided to federal law enforcement authorities who brought the charges.

County officials also worked with law enforcement on the prosecution and obtained more than $316,000 for taxpayers through the former county collector's surety bond. The current county collector has reviewed questionable transactions made by her predecessor and is ensuring that sufficient documentation is maintained to support all transactions.

The follow-up report also found that the appropriate Callaway County officials -- including the county commission, the county clerk, the county auditor and the county collector -- are working on improving oversight measures to ensure that public resources are safeguarded and accounted for.

The audit highlighted a total of 13 areas of concern and made recommendations in those areas. The follow-up report found seven of the recommendations had been implemented, another five were in progress, and the other recommendation had been partially implemented.

Since taking office, Auditor Galloway has conducted audits that have identified more than $350 million in government waste, fraud and mismanagement and helped bring criminal charges against 40 corrupt public officials.

The complete follow-up report can be found here.