Purpose of Audit
Determine whether County officials have established appropriate controls to safeguard and account for court and trust funds for the period January 1, 2017 through March 11, 2020.
The County Treasurer (Treasurer), County Clerk (Clerk) and Surrogate’s Court must develop sound procedures and processes which, when implemented properly and consistently, provide a system of internal controls to account for and safeguard court and trust funds and abandoned property. Pursuant to New York State Finance Law, the Treasurer is required to submit a report on an annual basis to the State Comptroller accounting for all money, securities and other properties deposited to the court and ordered into her custody. In addition, pursuant to New York State Abandoned Property Law, money that has remained in the hands of the Treasurer for a period of three years, together with all accumulated interest, less the Treasurer’s statutory fees, is deemed abandoned property. The Treasurer should, after public notice, pay all such abandoned property to the State Comptroller by the tenth of April of the next year. Finally, New York State County Law requires the Clerk to maintain a record of all money and securities paid, transferred or deposited, or ordered to be paid, transferred or deposited, into a court.
- The records maintained by the Treasurer were not complete. We found two actions, totaling $30,455, in the Treasurer’s custody that were not recorded on the annual report sent to the State Comptroller’s Office as required.
- We identified one action for $28,204.84 that improperly remained in the Treasurer’s custody that should have been turned over to the State Comptroller as abandoned property.
- The Clerk is not maintaining appropriate court and trust fund records.
- The Treasurer should ensure that all court-ordered money in her custody is properly accounted for and reported on the annual report to the State Comptroller.
- The Treasurer should ensure that all money deemed abandoned property is paid to the State Comptroller in a timely manner.
- The Clerk should ensure that the court and trust fund register is complete and up-to-date with all actions reported as required by law.