The financial mess left behind by Bemus Point’s former village clerk and treasurer is worse than originally thought.
Jennifer Jagger, a former Bemus Point village clerk, was arrested in February 2021 for alleged theft of more than $60,000 in village money.
But an audit released Friday by state Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli said in more detail, a full audit of $2.1 million in the transaction found property tax payments more than once without refunds issued to taxpayers. was done, without payroll tax documents that have already turned out to be fines. Against the village with more possible dues and 19 different recommendations to the village board and the current clerk-treasurer to prevent future theft.
Bemus Point Mayor Brian Dahlberg wrote a short reply to the Comptroller’s Office in response to the audit.
“We are receiving the draft from the audit done,” Dahlberg wrote. “We agree with the findings and stand ready to take the suggestions in the report and put them into practice in our Village of Bemus Point office.”
Dinapoli, District Attorney Jason Schmidt and Sheriff Jim Quattron announced charges against Jagger in February 2021 after it was found that he had allegedly stolen more than $60,000 in village money. The audit released on Friday detailed how the theft took place.
Jaeger himself issued checks without the approval of the village board for payments that were not supported. For example, he himself paid:
$19,357 for unknown reasons.
$11,372 to reimburse the village’s expenses he claimed to have paid with his own personal money. The clerk-treasurer had no receipt to document what, if anything, had been purchased. For example, he reimbursed himself $1,436 for fire department expenses, but a fire department official confirmed it was not a legitimate expense.
$5,593 for training expenses, including mileage training, hotel stay, and class fees. However, she did not attend any training program.
$3,612 for unused vacation time. However, she was not eligible for paid leave time and vVillage does not pay employees for vacation time they do not use.
$2,204 for mileage reimbursement. However, he had already been reimbursed for the benefits through the village’s regular claim payment process around the time of issuance of these checks.
In December, he pleaded guilty to a charge of petit theft and paid compensation to the village.
Such theft was possible, Dinapoli’s office said, because the board had not conducted a proper audit or proper claims audit. Dinapoli said $564,682 for 450 payments not listed on warrants, another $21,908 for 93 payments not agreed upon on warrants, $355 utility payments paid to the clerk/treasurer; 154 payments totaling $456,508 for 154 payments made prior to the board meeting that were not assets included in subsequent warrants for board review and approval, and 51 warrants that lacked a claim number, check number, or account code.
The auditors noted that Jagger provided them with replacement warrants. The auditors received the electronic warrants on September 28, 2020, which were edited on September 25, 2020, all within a time limit of 12 minutes. Those converted warrants, the audit said, totaled $7,937 in additional money to Jagger.
“Clerk-treasurers were able to hide their suspicious activities by initiating disbursements, approving payments, and issuing checks, as the board and mayor failed to provide proper oversight and enforce adequate controls,” The auditors wrote in their reports. “No one other than the clerk-treasurer received or reviewed bank statements or canceled check images. Therefore, basic internal controls were absent and none to mitigate the risk of unauthorized transactions, errors and/or irregularities occurring and going undetected.
The audit also found six years of increased payroll payments totaling $26,867 because Jagger was able to review and process payroll, including its own, without oversight.
Jaeger did not properly report property tax collections, reporting $604,181 in property tax payments from June 2016 to September 2020, but was showing collections based on bank account details of $617,643. Auditors report Jaeger improperly placed 30 properties with tax bills totaling $9,594. Unpaid lists were sent to the county each year to reinstate property taxes, but all 30 property owners paid the village’s checking accounts. – meaning they paid their tax bills twice and were not refunded. The other eight property tax payments totaling $2,973 were paid twice and not refunded.
Neither the mayor nor the board reviewed the cash receipt activity of the clerk-treasurer, Audit noted. “We question whether all receipts intended for the village were properly deposited and accounted for. The Board did not adopt written policies of cash receipts, ensured that the fees for cash receipts were properly segregated or did not provide adequate oversight of the clerk-treasurer. As a result, the Clerk-Treasurer had complete control over the processing of cash receipts and the Board cannot ensure that all money collected is recorded and deposited. ,
Dinapoli’s audit also found that Jagger also did not file a payroll tax report or pay a total of $40,837. As a result, Bemus Point was assessed a penalty and interest of $18,100.
The former clerk did not properly deposit, record or report the taxes collected or issued duplicate receipts or other sufficient support, which meant that the auditor could not determine whether all money collected was deposited or No. Jagger reportedly did not record revenue and expenses properly, which Dinapoli’s auditors said resulted in inaccurate actual financial results. Finally, the audit noted that Jagger had not provided written financial reports to the Bemus Point Village Board or filed annual financial reports with the state comptroller’s state office as required for four years.
“Failure to register the AUD prevents the Board, village residents, OSC and other interested parties from monitoring the operations and financial position of the village,” Audit said. “As such, the board’s ability to make informed decisions and manage village operations is impaired. Failure to file for four consecutive years puts a question mark on the financial position of the village and the effectiveness of the village management in general. Had the Board played a more proactive role in its responsibility for managing the operations of the village, the deficiencies contained in this report could have been detected or prevented.
Dinapoli’s first recommendation is to conduct an audit and work with attorneys, county officials, and any applicable state and federal agencies to determine whether property tax overpayments, underpayments or duplicate payments should be corrected. And the best ways to do this. In addition, the audit recommends finding out whether payroll taxes are still owed to state and federal agencies.
The auditors then suggest to the board that the clerk-treasurer’s duties be separated to prevent one person from controlling all stages of the transaction, audit appropriate claims, record the annual audit clerk-treasurer, ensure Ensure that payroll is reviewed by someone independent of payroll processing and ensure monthly reports are submitted. It has also been recommended to implement Clerk-Treasurer.
Audit recommends that the village maintain complete, accurate and proper accounting records and implement compensation controls with adequate oversight and audit of the clerk’s/treasurer’s records as necessary.