City probes theft possibility - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

City probes theft possibility

Employee has been placed on leave, investigation continues

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Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 10:52 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - The City of Coeur d'Alene has placed an employee in its Finance Department on administrative leave and asked the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department and Kootenai County prosecutor to investigate the possibility that funds have been embezzled.

The city is not naming the employee now, nor does it know how much money has gone missing. But officials believe the amount is "in the thousands of dollars" and that the transactions involve wire transfers and a federal bank, which could bring the Secret Service into the investigation.

"The city is cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department and the Kootenai County prosecutor in gathering documents, transaction records, and other financial information to investigate this matter," City Attorney Mike Gridley stated in a prepared statement Monday. "Because this matter is a personnel matter and involves an active criminal investigation, there is little information that we can share at this time. Full details will be released at the appropriate time."

Gridley did say that the employee, who has worked for the city since around 2002, was involved in payroll processing. The employee is the only one involved in the investigation, and believed to be the only person who benefited financially.

None of the conduct points toward citizen or employee identity information being compromised, but instead focuses on unauthorized money transfers from at least one city bank account to the employee's personal account.

The financial irregularities were noticed last week during an account reconciliation while the employee had been away on vacation.

When department heads questioned the employee about the transactions, the employee "did not have a good answer," Gridley said.

"The answers didn't make sense," he said. "It kind of unraveled after that."

The investigation will look over several years worth of financing now. It's impossible to put a dollar figure on the amount of potential missing funds because more research needs to be done, Gridley said.

"We're going back and checking previous years," Gridley said. "We think there will be some (similar) conduct in previous years ... It was a pretty sophisticated system and an entrusted person."

Gridley couldn't elaborate on the sophisticated system used, but said it involved at least one bank and names of vendors with which the city does legitimate business. The sheriff's office didn't return messages left by The Press Monday afternoon.

Immediate action has been taken by the city to secure all its accounts, the city's press release stated. The suspected employee has been relieved of duties and barred from city facilities pending the outcome of a formal investigation.

"We have to go through a formal due process before we can terminate an employee," Gridley said. "That process has started."

The city is not paying the employee, although if the employee had accrued vacation time, he or she could use it, Gridley said. The employee's administrative hearing is scheduled for Monday.

The discovery marks the second account of a public employee accused of embezzlement in just over a year.

Kootenai County's former chief deputy clerk and auditing supervisor, Sandy Martinson, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $49,000 in restitution last Oct. 31. Martinson was convicted of stealing $140,000 over 10 years.

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14 comments:

  • Allenedward posted at 11:51 pm on Wed, Nov 7, 2012.

    Allenedward Posts: 2

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  • KennyRogers posted at 4:59 am on Tue, Aug 28, 2012.

    KennyRogers Posts: 24

    what is going on with the world.. People who are in charge and holds are future are frequently involved with scandals and scrupulous acts.. when can we have a trust worthy officials again. even on the simplest things they can commit crimes.. like corruption on road works or even on ink toners for printers..

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 7:46 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1117

    Criminal activity, of course proven in court,...........you're immediately in Obama's workforce.

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 4:40 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969


    Public Employee Definition;
    Due Process; They act defined by COLLECTIVE BARGAINING to give special protections to public employees against Firing FOR CAUSE.
    Procedural Due Process is a fairly new definition given to muddle the use of the Substantive Due Process granted in the constitution.

    Just another Progressive redefining of terms to hide the Special treatment of Self Segregated Special groups.

     
  • Jullee posted at 11:30 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Jullee Posts: 538

    Who audits Tymsesn ?

     
  • the floorist posted at 9:51 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    A little too close to home...Windy will steer clear of this thread...

     
  • Suzanna posted at 9:48 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Suzanna Posts: 20

    You would think that after the Martinson incident, a full audit would have been done. Would have saved months worth of embezzled money. Who's watching the chicken coop????

     
  • lexacon posted at 9:39 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    lexacon Posts: 80

    Interesting......"We have to go through a formal due process before we can terminate an employee"

     
  • Rationale posted at 9:13 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1973

    2sence,

    That's not "right to work."

    That's "at-will" employment.

     
  • My2sence posted at 8:43 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    My2sence Posts: 317

    "We have to go through a formal due process before we can terminate an employee"

    Isn't that where "right to work" comes in handy?

     
  • the floorist posted at 8:21 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    I'd like to hear more about those clandestine bank accounts which surfaced when that Sandy Martinsen got away with a hundred G's and served ninety days.

    Judging from the past; the age, gender and health condition of this newest embezzler will determine how long their stay in jail will be considering Wolfinger and the county don't want the liabilities of terminally ill prisoners on their plate.

    Restitution: Approximately 1/3 of the take

    Incarceration: Every day citizens caught shoplifting $20 worth of junk do more time

     
  • mister d posted at 8:20 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    I am glad they were able to notice the missing funds and work on correcting the situation. I always hope things like this are mistaken accusations but unfortunately they usually aren't. I look forward to reading more about this situation.

     
  • MtnMan posted at 8:18 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    MtnMan Posts: 56

    "Kootenai County's former chief deputy clerk and auditing supervisor, Sandy Martinson, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $49,000 in restitution last Oct. 31. Martinson was convicted of stealing $140,000 over 10 years."

    90 days???? He!! I'd do 90 days for a $100,000 profit. Sign me up!
    Why do they not name the accused? When it is a citizen accused of stealing anything their name hits the paper before the fingerprint ink has dried.

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 7:22 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1117

    "We're going back and checking previous years," Gridley said. "We think there will be some (similar) conduct in previous years ... It was a pretty sophisticated system and an entrusted person."

    I guess those $100,000 + / year employees, possibly, haven't been doing their jobs in previous years.

    Audits really aren't that difficult where money is involved. Maybe they should higher new supervisors and a new manager.

     
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