Linn County office lacked controls to prevent embezzlement, audit finds

Independent auditing firm Pauly, Rogers, and Co., P.C. found a “significant deficiency” in how cash was processed in the department.

Posted: Mar 26, 2021 1:32 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2021 3:37 PM

ALBANY, Ore. – An audit by a Washington County accounting firm found Linn County’s Planning and Building Department lacked proper protocols and controls that could have helped prevent a former employee from allegedly stealing $235,000.  

Independent auditing firm Pauly, Rogers, and Co., P.C. found a “significant deficiency” in how cash was processed in the department.

According to the review, the employee accused of the theft had “complete control over the deposits as well as the reconciling and reporting of receipts” which allowed the theft to occur. Furthermore, the supervisor tasked with reviewing the transactions failed to catch the irregulates.

Linn County Administrative Officer Darrin Lane said overall the county is well-positioned to prevent theft, but it still happens.

“Even our auditors have said that there's no such thing as a foolproof system. All we can do is implement controls that reduce the likelihood of something like this happening,” Lane said.

Lane said the county adopted of a plan of action based on the audit’s recommendations, and the plan was approved by the Linn County Board earlier this week.

“I actually have a very high degree of confidence that it will prevent something like this from happening again,” Lane said.

The audit made several recommendations, including splitting up duties among employees so that no single person has total control, and implementing stronger protocols to catch irregularities. 

According to county documents, the changes were implemented in November 2020.

Angela Adams, 48, was arraigned this month on 12 counts of theft related to the embezzlement scheme. Adams is scheduled to be back in court on April 26.

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