The N.C. Cemetery Commission wrongly allowed a former administrative assistant to investigate herself after she used agency money for personal expenses, the state auditor’s office has found.
“The Interim Director stated that because the Commission is a small organization with only one full-time employee, the Commission allowed the employee to investigate herself,” according to the newly released report by the auditor’s office.
The former employee, who was not identified in the report, admitted to using the commission’s money for $11,705 in personal purchases, the auditor’s report says.
The Interim Director stated that because the Commission is a small organization with only one full-time employee, the Commission allowed the employee to investigate herself.
N.C. State Auditor’s report on investigation into a misappropriation of funds at the N.C. Cemetery Commission
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But the auditor’s office found that the former employee may have misappropriated as much as $6,283 more from the commission. Cemetery Commission President Gantt Stephens said the former employee had no role in making most of those additional purchases.
The former employee, who resigned in March 2015, repaid the $11,705 to the commission, agency officials said.
State auditors recommended that the commission use independent people to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, and that it report misappropriations of state property to the SBI.
In a letter to State Auditor Beth Wood, Cemetery Commission Vice President Glenn Cutler said the commission would follow the auditors’ recommendations.
Cutler wrote that the employee’s resignation and her repayment of commission money “satisfactorily addressed the misappropriation of funds.”
Stephens, the commission’s president, said that while the former employee was allowed to fill out a spreadsheet describing her purchases, other agency officials certified the accuracy of her entries.
The former employee chose to resign while her purchases were under scrutiny because “she knew the problem she had created for herself,” Stephens said.
“I think she knew what the outcome was going to be,” he said.
The commission is responsible for regulating and supervising cemeteries. Fees paid by cemeteries fund the agency’s budget.