Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has issued a statement following a guilty plea in Daviess County last week from former Coffey city clerk Mary Lou Browning to felony charges of stealing and forgery. The charges were filed after an audit of the small northwest Missouri town by Auditor Galloway found more than $60,000 was missing.
"Time and again, our audits have been the tool to discover fraud and abuse and, as was the case here, have led to criminal charges," Auditor Galloway said. "Officials who violate the public trust to enrich themselves must be held accountable. I am pleased our work with the Daviess County Prosecuting Attorney led to this guilty plea as we seek justice for the citizens of Coffey."
The audit in 2018 found that over a period of almost two years Browning failed to make deposits, received improper payroll payments, and falsified board minutes and various financial reports. A follow-up report in 2019 by the Auditor's Office found that city officials had either implemented the recommendations of the audit or were in the process of doing so.
Browning will be sentenced at a later date.