Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fighting Fraud

Alex was very good at what he did. Shortly before his death, he became the first person in Tennessee to earn the designation of Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations from the Association of School Business Officials International.

His job carried with it tremendous responsibility, which was evident in the hundreds of his work files we’ve reviewed. From day one, as he’d told us, he was cleaning up messes. Alex was continually working to ensure that the school district financials were properly maintained and that all monies were accounted for. 

As we mentioned in our letter to the FBI, Alex had been revising policies and giving training to staff to combat fraud, waste and abuse within the system. We presume this is what Mr. Bailey meant when he told us, “The biggest thing that Alex was doing was stepping on peoples toes because he was doing his job well.”

During the Spring of 2011, Alex prepared this presentation that emphasizes Tennessee law on fraud reporting.  One month before his death in June 2011, Alex developed this power point and gave training to staff based on negative 2010 audit findings.

As we understand it, audit findings do not necessarily expose fraud or waste; rather, they highlight weaknesses or risks in controls and procedures. Management is left to delve into those discoveries and take corrective actions. After reviewing the 2010 audit and these power points, these statements indicate that Alex found numerous problems throughout multiple areas of the school system:

“correction – not cover-up….improper or no bids….deficit fund balances….inadequate collection records…..bank deposits not made timely….purchase authorizations not completed properly, dated after invoice…..inadequate separation of duties…invoice amount does not equal check amount…collection records not prepared for all collections"

Findings Deserving Undivided Attention:

·         Cash/check ration in collection records did not agree with bank
·         Receipts did not agree with collection logs
·         Money receipted does not reconcile with deposits
·         No deposits for October, February and June
·         Receipts could not be traced to deposit
·         Receipt totals not matched with deposit totals
·         Teacher receipts not issued to payee and had wrong date
·         Invoice amount does not equal check amount”