PINEVILLE — The state auditor's office alleges nearly $20,000 is missing from Pineville's Municipal Court.
An audit of the city court was requested by McDonald County Prosecutor Jonathan Pierce in June. The prosecutor presented evidence that thousands of dollars was missing. Because of the severity of the allegations, State Auditor Thomas Schweich activated this swift assessment program to gather evidence.
In a report, Schweich said between June 2010 and May 2012, at least $19,648 in cash receipts were received by the court but not deposited. Additionally, some essential records documenting amounts received and case and ticket dispositions couldn't be located.
"These problems, along with correspondence with several defendants, indicated additional funds totaling at least $1,648 could also be missing," a summary on the city court audit states.
Errors in accounting controls and procedures included:
• Money handling duties not adequately segregated from recording transactions;
• No independent supervisory review of the former court clerk's work;
• No independent review was performed to make sure manual receipt slips were properly entered into the Justice Information System and subsequently deposited, receipts were not recorded timely nor deposited timely and intact, and manual receipt slips were not always issued in numerical sequence;
• The method of payment was not always recorded on manual receipts slips and didn't always match the JIS;
• Receipt slips were not issued for 52 checks and money orders totaling more than $11,000 on hand June 7, 2012. These payments ranged from December 2005 to May 2012;
• The former clerk didn't always issue warrants in accordance with the municipal judge's procedures and didn't generate a list of unpaid fines and costs for the judge's review. The former clerk adjusted the amount of fines and costs in the JIS without obtaining independent approval, and some adjustments were not adequately documented. A monthly list of all cases heard wasn't prepared and filed with the city, as required by state law.
The audit also listed problems in municipal division procedures, such as no accounting for the numerical sequence and ultimate disposition of traffic tickets issued, and some tickets were not recorded in the JIS. Procedures weren't in place to ensure ticket information entered in the JIS was always approved by the city prosecutor. Audit staff identified 48 instances where ticket information entered into the system didn't consistently or accurately document the final disposition of each case on the court dockets in the JIS, and the city judge did not review and document his approval of some court dockets.
"The municipal division and the city do not have adequate ongoing procedures to track tickets issued on state or federal highways located in the city, and the related fines and court costs collected, to determine whether excess revenues should be remitted to the state in accordance with state law," the audit report stated.
Page 2 of 2 - Schweich gave the city court system a poor audit rating.
A complete audit report is available at www.auditor.mo.gov.