PULLMAN, Wash.–Washington State University will seek full recovery of $41,606 misappropriated from local accounts in the Department of Animal Sciences as well as audit, investigative and related expenses in a matter reported today by the state auditor’s office, according to Sallie Giffen, WSU vice president for business affairs.
“The university is the victim in a serious breach of public trust by an employee, and we will aggressively pursue restitution,” Giffen said. “This is the first case of its kind at the university in more than a decade.”
The state auditor’s office has found that funds were misappropriated and accounting records falsified and destroyed by a fiscal technician for the animal sciences department during the period of July 1, 1991, through Feb. 28, 1997.
The matter is being referred to the Whitman County prosecuting attorney by the state auditor’s office for appropriate criminal action.
Giffen said discrepencies reported in student club accounts brought the matter to the university’s attention earlier this year, and the university’s internal auditing office investigated. The employee, who worked for the university for eight years, resigned and made restitution of $2,731 when the circumstances were uncovered. The state auditor’s office was notified and an audit investigation was conducted by the fraud division.
She pointed out that no state or federal appropriated funds were involved and the money was cash receipts to units within the department.
The auditor’s report alleges the employee altered checks and deposited the funds to a personal account, substituted checks for cash and kept undeposited cash.
Giffen said several changes have been implemented to tighten internal controls to protect public assets. Additional procedures for monitoring revenues and deposits have been put in place. A series of training sessions have been held and others planned for department personnel, and other corrective actions are being taken as recommended in the auditor’s report.
The university plans to review within the next few months all cash handling operations and internal control structures to insure the integrity of all 150 programs involved in cash transactions within the university, Giffen explained.