Internal investigation reveals more than $80k stolen from LSU Dept. of Theatre

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The LSU Office of Internal Audit was contacted in May 2015 in reference to missing funds within the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts (CMDA). The missing funds were collections of admission fees to theatre productions.

David N. Rodriguez, 48, had custody and control of theatre funds which were to be deposited into an account for LSU student theatre productions, according to LSU.

Rodriguez was an Administrative Coordinator in the Department of Theatre within the CMDA where he has been continuously employed since March 1, 2004. He has been terminated from the university and was arrested by the LSU Police Department.

The audit showed Rodriguez could not account for the missing $82,132.60, which was in his control. The funds were collected for theatre productions happening between June 2010 and March 2015.

An examination was conducted of the Campus Federal account for the period of January 2009 through March 2015 utilizing monthly bank statements, copies of deposit slips, copies of canceled checks, production schedules, and House Manager Reports (reports by the graduate student in charge of the production showing the amount of deposit, starting bank, and ticket sales for the event). Mr. Rodriguez assumed custody and control over funds for deposit after each production and although others had signature authority, he was solely responsible for the care, custody, and control of the Campus Federal account for the period of approximately June 2010 through March 2015.

Sixty student productions were held during the period of June 2010 through March 2015, with total collections of $187,212.24 of which $82,132.60 cannot be accounted for.

Several of the checks made out to "cash", as well as checks made out to himself that appeared to have been both signed by and endorsed by Mr. Rodriguez, were presented to Mr. Rodriguez for review. Mr. Rodriguez identified the issuer signature and the endorsing signature on all checks presented to him as being his signature. This signature verified by Mr. Rodriguez, appears to be the same signature on the other checks and deposits in question during the period Mr. Rodriguez was responsible for the account. Additionally, the bank teller at Campus Federal Credit Union photocopied Mr. Rodriguez's Louisiana driver's license on many occasions while Mr. Rodriguez was cashing checks made payable to "cash", checks made payable to himself, and deposits which were short the full amount that should have been deposited.

The audit also states:

During the time of his employment with the Department of Theatre, Mr. Rodriguez was also employed by Abigail's Catering, an LSU vendor. Mr. Rodriguez has participated in transactions with Abigail's by conducting work for LSU on behalf of Abigail's and issuing checks from the Campus Federal account made payable to Abigail's.

Documents state Rodriguez acknowledged that over the years he took money from production "banks" as well as funds to be deposited, sometimes even the entire amount for a given deposit. He stated that he spent these funds to purchase various items for use by the Department of Theatre. However, with the exception of a few ink cartridges, he could not recall what was purchased, when the items were purchased, or for whom he purchased the items. Mr. Rodriguez then further stated that he did not have any receipts or invoices to document any of the purported purchases.

For the full report, click here.

Rodriguez was arrested on July 29, 2015 and charged with felony theft. He is booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison where no bond has been set at this time.

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