A Columbia County Sheriff’s Office employee recently discovered that fraudulent checks that were written on a Sheriff’s Office bank account.
Fiscal Specialist Amy Royal was conducting audits of the Sheriff’s Office bank accounts when the fraud was discovered. Ms. Royals learned that the suspect’s had created false payroll checks in a different company’s name but had used the banking account numbers of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. The fraudulent checks, four in total, were then cashed in Arizona. The amount of the four fraudulent checks totaled nearly $1,500.00.
Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office have opened a criminal investigation to determine how the suspect’s got access to the Sheriff’s Office account numbers. Detectives are also working closely with authorities in Arizona to further identify the suspect (s).
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has been reimbursed by its banking institution as a result of the fraudulent checks. No taxpayer funds were lost as a result.
The new business and accounting practices that were put in place by the Sheriff’s in 2010, have identified previous internal thefts and have also led to this discovery. Sheriff’s Office employee Amy Royal is commended for her attention to detail and for being a good steward of the Sheriff’s Office accounts. Royals in depth knowledge of the accounting system and protocols led the identification of this fraud.