to ELABORATE schemes:
MORE: Findings for recovery examples from simple miscalculation to elaborate schemes (pdf)
By Julia Debes - Public Affairs Staff Writer
Auditor of State Mary Taylor has issued $41,454,006.11 (updated 11/09/10) in findings for recovery since she took office on January 8, 2007. By definition, a finding for recovery is a determination by an auditor that money should be repaid because it was improperly spent, unaccounted for, uncollected or misappropriated.
“The theft or misuse of more than $41 million from Ohio’s taxpayers is a serious issue,” Taylor said. “I’m very proud of all the work our auditors do to make sure that each taxpayer dollar is spent according to its intended purpose.”
Findings for recovery can vary greatly. Some findings for recovery are not complicated – like a simple miscalculation or money collected but not deposited – while others involve elaborate schemes, such as complex collusion including falsification of records, forgery and outright theft.
Findings for recovery can be an indication of fraud – like when public property is converted for personal use. But, they can also be the result of a lack of documentation, bookkeeping mistakes or a change in the law that an entity has failed to institute.
In most cases, findings for recovery are identified during a routine financial audit. In others, a special audit is conducted specifically to investigate an allegation that theft or fraud has occurred.
No matter the size, complexity or intent of the finding for recovery,
it should be repaid.
When a finding for recovery is issued in an audit report, it is up to the individual or the entity to make restitution.
Many times, findings for recovery are repaid during the course of the audit. However, it is important to note that a finding for recovery does not automatically result in the restoration of funds to their proper place. The Ohio Auditor of State issues the report, but legally has no recourse to pursue the findings once the audit is complete. If findings are not repaid, the funds can be pursued by the local prosecutor or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.