Purpose of Audit
The purpose of our audit was to determine whether County officials have established appropriate controls to safeguard and account for court and trust funds for the period January 1, 2017 through June 17, 2022.
Pursuant to a court order, certain assets may be provided to the court and then delivered to the County Treasurer (Treasurer) for safekeeping. Payments made pursuant to court orders commonly involve surplus money from foreclosures and contract disputes resulting in a mechanic’s lien.1 These actions are recorded in the County Clerk’s office when payments are deposited as required by court order. Additionally, in certain circumstances2 funds from estates are entrusted to the Treasurer for safekeeping by order of the Surrogate’s Court. Together, the Treasurer, County 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 these funds.
- Reconciliations were not timely performed among the Treasurer, County Clerk and Surrogate’s Court, notices for each abandoned property were not published annually in the County’s official newspaper, and annual disbursements of interest were not made per court order.
- Upon receiving notification of our impending review of court and trust funds on February 18, 2022, the Treasurer and County Clerk reconciled their records and found that the Treasurer did not receive surplus money from a referee after the sale of foreclosed property on April 1, 2017, totaling $87,849.
- Records maintained by the County Clerk and Surrogate’s Court were up to date and complete.
- Perform an annual reconciliation of court and trust funds with the County Clerk and Surrogate’s Court.
- Ensure that all court-ordered funds, including related interest, are received and disbursed properly.
- Ensure that notices are published in the newspaper for each year abandoned property is held.
- Report all court and trust fund transactions annually.
1 Security interest in property filed to ensure payment for contracted services rendered on the property
2 When the whereabouts of any person entitled to payment from the estate is unknown