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May 27, 2009

 

DiNapoli: Inadequate Controls Contributed to Shortage of More Than $11,0000 in Genesee Town Justice's Account

Inadequate financial controls by the Town of Genesee contributed to a shortage of $11,147 in the account of a town justice, according to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The audit covered the period January 2005 to October 2008, and came at the request of Town Supervisor K. John Little.

“Keeping a watchful eye on the public’s money is always important,” said DiNapoli, “but officials must be particularly vigilant in times of economic uncertainty. I’m glad my office was able to account for the shortage in this case, and I hope my audit will serve as a guide to help town officials to prevent this kind of situation from occurring again. I commend the Supervisor for bringing this to our attention.”

Auditors found that Justice Cheryl D. Napora did not account for, deposit, or report all moneys she received in court, resulting in a cash shortage of $11,147 as of October 2008. Napora admitted she had occasionally deposited court fines and fees in her personal checking account with the stated intention of repaying the town. Auditors also found no evidence the board had conducted a required annual audit of the court, or hired an auditor.

After DiNapoli’s auditors completed their fieldwork, Napora submitted a resignation letter, dated December 29, 2008. She was arraigned in February on one count of grand larceny in the third degree, one count of falsifying business records, and one count of official misconduct.

DiNapoli recommended that town officials:

  • continue to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and their insurance carrier in an effort to recover funds that Napora owes;
  • ensure that all cases Napora adjudicated, beginning January 2005, were reported to the State Department of Motor Vehicles and the State Comptroller’s Justice Court Fund as required;
  • reconcile all bank accounts on a monthly basis and ensure moneys are deposited in the bank within 72 hours;
  • work together with the new town justice to establish an adequate system of internal controls over the court’s financial activity; and
  • conduct annual audits of court records and monitor court activities on an ongoing basis.

Town officials generally agreed with DiNapoli’s findings and indicated they would take corrective action. Click here to get a copy of the audit report.


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