Audit: Madison Co. Collector’s Office had $13K in missing property tax payments

Audit: Madison Co. Collector’s Office had $13K in missing property tax payments
According to the state auditor’s office, property tax bills were paid and deleted from computer system. The payments were not deposited into county accounts. (Source: KFVS)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - A state audit of the Madison County Collector’s Office details how $13,000 went missing from January 2017 and October 2018.

According to the state auditor’s office, property tax bills were paid and deleted from computer system. The payments were not deposited into county accounts.

“When there are suspicions of theft of taxpayer dollars, my team of auditors and investigators will not relent until they uncover all of the facts and shine a light on the abuses,” Auditor Galloway said. “The Public Corruption and Fraud Division will continue to work with law enforcement and assist in any way we can to ensure accountability in Madison County.”

The audit stemmed from a taxpayer contacted the collector’s office about his taxes being delinquent after showing a paid tax receipt. County officials and law enforcement began the investigation and a whistle blower contacted the state auditor’s hotline about suspicious activity.

That’s when the Public Corruption and Fraud Division began its investigation.

The report identified $13,263 went missing representing 66 individual personal property and real estate tax payments.

When taxpayers would pay their bill, it was recorded and they were issued a receipt. But, it was deleted from the system and the money was not deposited.

An additional $2,000 in deleted transactions are deemed questionable including three transactions for the former deputy collector’s personal property taxes.

Staff in the collector’s office shared passwords and computers making it difficult to track activity in the system any certain person.

Local and state law enforcement continue to investigate, and Auditor Nicole Galloway pledged continued cooperation from her Public Corruption and Fraud Division.

The audit recommends increased oversight of the property tax system and noted the county collector had not completed documented reviews of accounting and banking records.

The report also includes recommendations on how to better track and account for receipts issued by the collector’s office.

The collector’s office no longer deletes transactions and now requires additional oversight and review when making modifications to accounts.

The complete audit can be found here.

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