Audit reveals thief targeted state bank account, missing money untraceable

Audit reveals thief targeted state bank account, missing money untraceable

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A routine audit of a Louisiana state agency uncovered tens of thousands of dollars in bogus checks and investigators said they can't trace who created them.

The annual audit covering the fiscal year of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 shows a review of financial statements of the Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission (LUMVC). The CPA, John McKowen, said while he was going through the commission's March bank statement, he noticed several check numbers were out of sequence. He added, while he tried to trace the check images online through the bank, he noticed three more unauthorized transactions had cleared the bank in April.

McKowen said he contacted the account supervisor and the executive director of the LUMVC. According to the audit, the account supervisor contacted a local bank representative and together they determined that nine unauthorized transactions were made. The total was $16,674.93.

The CPA said it appeared someone had created checks in various business names using the bank's routing number and the commission's account number. The commission contacted the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and the district attorney. It then filed a report with the Baton Rouge Police Department. According to the audit, BRPD has not been able to identify who was behind it and the case has been closed.

The executive director with the commission, Derek Parnell, declined an on-camera interview. He instead released the following statement:

In April of 2016, the Commission's accountant identified several transactions on the Commission's March bank statement which were not initiated by the Commission. After investigation, it was discovered that checks which did not resemble the Commission's were printed with the Commission's account number. The checks had names of various entities and various banks and were negotiated at various retailers. The fraudulent transactions were immediately reported to the bank's Fraud Department, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, the District Attorney of 19th Judicial District, and the Baton Rouge Police Department's Financial Crimes Division. The bank reversed all of the unauthorized charges made against the Commission's account restoring the $16,674.93 deducted for the fraudulent transactions. Additionally, the Commission has instituted a process to notify its bank of payments made prior to payment to prevent any further unauthorized activity. Law enforcement has not been able to determine who is responsible for the unauthorized transactions. There is no evidence that the responsible individual or individuals are affiliated with the commission.

The bank has reimbursed the commission for the stolen funds.

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.