An audit reveals forgery/payroll theft for 2 Collier Co. parks
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla.- An audit is exposing big problems with Collier County's Parks and Recreation Department. So what is being done to make sure your tax dollars aren't being wasted?
Collier County Clerk Dwight Brock says an audit revealed theft and forgery within 2 county facilities in Immokalee.
"Do you think taxpayer money was wasted," asked Fox 4 reporter Julie Salomone.
"I think not only was taxpayer money wasted, I think taxpayer money was stolen. I think public records were destroyed," said Dwight Brock.
Brock's audit looked at the Immokalee Sports Complex and Immokalee Community Park. The audit went back 2.5 years. An investigation found a supervisor falsified time cards. Checks were received and then chased at local Immokalee businesses.
"Anything that could have gone wrong, we found, no manager oversight of what was going on at all," said Brock.
The audit also revealed some employees were overpaid. For example, one time card shows an employee was paid for 24 hours of work for just 1 day.
"People have asked me just how much was taken. Absolutely no way to determine how much was taken," said Brock.
The Director of Parks and Recreation , Barry Williams, tells Fox he fired 2 employees last April.
"They confessed to being involved in this scheme, get these checks and cash them," said Williams.
Williams says a criminal investigation is ongoing and changes have been made.
"So now there is a 3rd party who oversees time cards and just direct deposit now," asked Fox 4 reporter Julie Salomone.
"That is correct," replied Williams.
"Does the potential for theft still exist?" asked reporter Julie Salomone.
"Not to my knowledge," answered Williams.
But according to the clerk's audit, this was not an isolated incident and the potential for theft may still exist.
This issue came to light after a concerned mother reviewed her daughter's W2 form. She told the county her daughter had been away at college for most of the year and could not have worked the hours as much as the W2 form showed.