District Attorney Craig Ladd has confirmed State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones' announcement Wednesday that his request for an audit has revealed discrepancies in one department of his office. But Ladd said while the audit is complete, the criminal investigation into the matter has not been concluded.
"In March 2012, I learned of accounting practices in one of our departments which concerned me. I immediately contacted the State Auditor's Office and requested an audit. The auditor graciously accommodated my request and an audit was commenced within a few days. The audit covered the time period of July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2011, and was completed in late August of 2012. The Auditor's report confirmed that my prior concerns about the types of accounting practices which had been utilized were well founded. In response to the findings in the audit and with the guidance of members of the auditor's staff, I have implemented new accounting policies and procedures," Ladd said in a press release Thursday.
However, the district attorney said the audit also indicated potential wrongdoing and he took further action.
"In addition, the supervisor of the department in question was placed on suspension and eventually terminated during the pendency of the audit. Following my receipt of the Auditor's report on August 27, 2012, I contacted the Attorney General's Office in September of 2012, and requested that the matter be referred to a different district attorney for review and possible action. Based on this request, the matter is currently being reviewed by another district attorney (Bryan County District Attorney Emily Redman). Given that the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time," Ladd said.
Thursday afternoon Redman said she received the case after the attorney general's office had studied the results of the audit.
"I reviewed the report and talked with the auditors (who conducted the financial probe). I decided to request further investigation," Redman said, adding an "OSBI investigation is pending."
According to the Associated Press, the audit revealed that within one department of the Carter County District Attorney's Office a single employee had complete control over the office's information and technology system and was able to "write off account balances without secondary authorization." In addition, the audit uncovered the same employee accepted cash payments for bogus checks, restitution and supervision fees.