DiNapoli: Bolivar Fire District Treasurer
Used $113,000 of District Funds For
The treasurer of the Bolivar Joint Fire District disbursed $119,000 of district funds for unauthorized purposes over a ten-year period and used $113,000 for personal expenses, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. DiNapoli said his office had referred the matter to the Allegany County District Attorney.
“The treasurer’s job is to protect taxpayers, not steal from them,” DiNapoli said. “The corruption that took place in Bolivar is unacceptable. When public officials commit fraud, the taxpayers pay the price. The Bolivar Joint Fire District needs to establish strong and effective internal controls to ensure that this never happens again.”
The audit covered the period January 1, 2001 to April 27, 2010.
DiNapoli’s auditors found that the treasurer opened and held two credit union accounts without the board’s knowledge or approval. From 2001 through 2010, the treasurer made payments of $113,000 out of these two accounts for personal expenses, including:
- More than 350 checks and other disbursements totaling approximately $47,650 used to pay various personal expenses such as meal and lodging expenses, home and cellular telephone charges, personal utility bills, marina expenses, vehicle and homeowner insurance premiums, and golf outings;
- More than $39,400 in ATM and cash withdrawals;
- Over $21,000 in personal credit card payments; and
- Approximately $4,900 in electronic payments for personal telephone charges.
In addition, the treasurer made unauthorized stipend payments to himself in the amount of $6,700.
DiNapoli recommended that district officials and board members:
- Consult with the district’s legal counsel and take appropriate action to recover the apparent misappropriated funds from the treasurer;
- Ensure that the new treasurer properly prepares and retains all financial records and supporting documents on file at the district;
- Review the district’s cash receipt and disbursement practices and adopt a set of comprehensive written policies and procedures that address all cash receipts and disbursements; and
- Segregate the treasurer’s duties so that this position does not control all aspects of any financial transaction.
DiNapoli’s report notes that the treasurer was able to misappropriate district funds in large part because the board did not establish effective internal controls over cash receipts and disbursements or monitor the treasurer’s activities.
District officials generally agreed with our recommendations, and indicated they have initiated corrective action.
Click here for a full copy of the audit.