Audit report shows a pair of WBRSO employees took money for personal use

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office released a report Monday confirming the misappropriation of money from the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office by a pair of former employees.

The report found that WBRSO received $158,852 more in traffic ticket revenue than what was deposited from July 1, 2018
to July 31, 2022. The audit was conducted after a misappropriation notice was received from WBRSO Sheriff Mike Cazes.

Mandy Miller, who was the WBRSO traffic administrator for 14 years, was primarily responsible for traffic tickets and admitted she took cash collected for traffic tickets for her personal use. The report states WBRSO accounting records show Miller recorded
false transactions to conceal the cash she took.

The report also showed that WBRSO accounting records indicated Miller recorded the cash she took as an account receivable to keep the accounting records balanced. Cash collections are usually recorded as an increase to cash, but since she took some of
the cash, the entry to accounts receivable was required to allow the accounting records to reconcile to bank records.

Monday’s audit report also found the sheriff’s office received $6,986 more in fiduciary funds than was deposited from January 1, 2022, to August 2, 2022. Bank records showed two checks totaling $1,680 from one of the fiduciary bank accounts were paid to WBRSO employee, Aimee Riviere, but the accounting records were altered to show a different payee after the checks were negotiated.

Riviere is the employee primarily responsible for accounting for fiduciary funds. According to the WBRSO Chief Civil Deputy, Riviere told him she took cash from some deposits, the report states.

Riviere has reimbursed the Sheriff’s department for $4,071 as of August 2022, which leaves a balance due of $2,915.

The auditor’s office recommended the Sheriff consult with legal counsel to determine the appropriate actions to take, including recovery of missing funds and improper payments.

In addition, the Sheriff should:

  • Stop accepting cash payments
  • Assign an employee that does not collect payments to receive and deposit collections from cashiers daily and reconcile deposits to
  • receipts and amounts posted as collected
  • Make daily deposits as required by law
  • Eliminate the signature stamp and assign check signing duties to senior management.

Based on the recommendations from the report, Cazes sent a letter to the auditor’s office stating the efforts the department has taken.

One of the major changes involves the future handling of cash deposits. The recommendation to eliminate acceptance of cash payments will come in the form of kiosks installed in the courthouse to accept and record any cash payments for processing.

That future third-party vendor or two designated employees from WBRSO will handle the cash from that kiosk, limiting the potential for future cash mishandling. Cazes’ response to the auditor cites this intention and mentions the department is in current negotiation with multiple vendors to get said kiosks installed.

Other suggested changes by the legislative audit were taken into account in Cazes’ response including the designation of an employee who does not receive deposits to reconcile them, daily cash drawer monitoring and bank deposits and elimination of the signature stamp in the Sheriff’s office.

The sheriff said his department has also installed more security cameras, including some inside the vault where deposits are held before being brought to the bank daily.

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