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State investigation finds $150K missing from Wastewater Billing Dept.

By the WPD staff

A former employee for Wabash’s Wastewater Billing Department is under investigation for $152,127.54 in missing funds that should have been deposited between September 2013 and May 2017, according to a special investigation by the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA).

The audit, which the Plain Dealer obtained on Wednesday, states that the missing funds were credited to customer accounts between September 5, 2013 and May 9, 2017, but were never deposited in the bank and were unaccounted for in the City’s fund ledger. The SBOA concluded that former City employee Angelina Monroe was responsible for the missing funds. Monroe was one of two billing clerks working for the department at the time.

The State is now asking Monroe to return unaccounted funds to the City and to pay for the cost of the special investigation ($26,477.38) for a total of $178,604.92, according to a summary of the audit.

The report highlights internal control deficiencies practiced by the billing department when the funds went missing. In one example, the report states that both billing clerks had the same title, salary and duties and had little supervisory oversight. As a result, “officials were not able to prevent or detect in a timely manner the failure to deposit collections,” the report said.

Several City leaders were briefed on the matter on November 9, including Mayor Scott Long, City Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Frazier, Wastewater Utility Superintendent Robert Gray and City Council President Doug Adams, the SBOA report said.

The report was also provided to the Wabash County Prosecutor’s Office and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.