KIRAN: Nearly $50K missing from small town; sheriff's office investigating

BRUSLY, LA (WAFB) - UPDATE: The Louisiana Legislative Auditor released the findings Monday (March 19, 2018) of an audit into the town of Brusly.

This audit was actually done by an independent auditor last December. The town of Brusly gets an annual audit. This time, the auditor found $48,200 missing. The audit spanned the fiscal year of 2017 from July 2016 to June 2017. The $48,200 was only for the 2017 fiscal year.

Now, the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating. Detectives have no named suspects at this time. The town of Brusly has launched its own internal investigation going back to July 2015 through June 2016 (fiscal year 2016) to see if the missing money goes further back than just 2017 fiscal year, according to Mayor Scot Rhodes.

All this money that was missing was from the traffic fines that were paid in cash.

ORIGINAL: Tens of thousands of dollars are missing from a small town in West Baton Rouge Parish.

"It's taxpayers money that I'm responsible for," said Mayor Scot Rhodes.

Mayor Rhodes says the Town of Brusly is audited every year, but the 2017 audit last December found some discrepancies. "They tracked some cash transactions during our annual audit and we found two cash transactions that were missing, and we did an internal audit and found more cash transactions that were missing," said Rhodes.

Rhodes says when people in Brusly get a traffic ticket, they can go to town hall and pay it. One of the options is to pay with cash. He says their records show the ticket as paid, a receipt was given to the person who paid, but that cash was never deposited into the bank.

"The paid tickets would show that a $200 ticket has been paid in cash, but there was no deposit to match it," said Rhodes.

Sources tell the 9News Investigators' Lead Investigator Kiran Chawla that more than $40,000 is not accounted for from the Town of Brusly and that's just for 2017. Officials say their investigation could go back even further to 2016, 2015, and beyond.

"We did an internal investigation pulling all the records all the way back to 2015," said Rhodes.

The mayor says his probe could go back even further, well before when he came into office a year ago. Mayor Rhodes turned over all their findings to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office which, has launched an investigation.

As of now, no one has been identified as a suspect in the case.

This has already led to a policy change. Only one person used to have to sign off on deposits. Now, they have a computer generated report showing all the paid tickets. That report is signed by two people. They then compare that list to bank deposits to make sure all cash is going to the bank.

"We are bonded for this missing money, so we have a bond that will cover these missing funds," said Rhodes.

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