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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Ellery – Justice Court (2014M-269)

Released: February 6, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the Justice Court’s financial activity for the period January 1, 2009 through August 6, 2014.


The Town of Ellery is located in Chautauqua County and has a population of approximately 4,400. The Town is governed by an elected five-member Town Board and maintains a Justice Court with two Justices and a Court Clerk The Court reported collecting approximately $636,000 in fines, fees and surcharges during our audit period.

Key Findings

  • The Clerk controlled all aspects of the Court’s cash collection, recording and reporting processes with minimal oversight, which allowed her to manipulate the financial records and apparently misappropriate funds.
  • Not all collections from individuals had corresponding duplicate receipts or appeared on the daily cashbook reports and monthly Justice Court Fund reports.
  • The Justices did not perform monthly accountability analyses and did not maintain a list of bail pending and other types of unremitted payments received.
  • The Board did not perform or provide for an annual audit of the Justices’ records since July 2011.

Key Recommendations

  • Take action to recover any moneys due to the Town or the State and segregate the Clerk’s duties.
  • Ensure that signed receipts are issued for all moneys collected and compare duplicate receipts to monthly computerized cashbook reports and daily deposit slips.
  • Ensure that bank reconciliations and accountability analyses are prepared monthly and maintain an accurate, up-to-date list accounting for bail and other moneys received.
  • Perform, or hire an independent public accountant to perform, a thorough audit of the Court’s records on an annual basis.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236