MSHP investigating after state audit finds thousands of dollars missing or misspent by Dunklin Co. sewer dist.

An investigation is underway after a state audit reveals thousands of dollars in misused and missing funds from the Dunklin County Sewer District
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 12:46 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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DUNKLIN COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - A state audit led to a state police investigation into the Dunklin County Sewer District.

At issue, more than $160,000 either missing or misused by the district.

Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick released a report on Tuesday, October 17.

The report revealed $62,579 missing or misappropriated from the district, including payroll overpayments of more than $54,000 paid to the bookkeeper, who is the wife of the board president.

“This is somebody, in a position of public trust, in a small sewer district, and ended up running it into the ground and ultimately into bankruptcy,” Fitzpatrick said.

According to Fitzpatrick, the audit also found more than $98,000 in payments had not been deposited and was likely missing.

There are supposed to be five people on the board, but according to Fitzpatrick, at least two of those seats have been vacant for more than four years.

“The real issue is that for a period of time, the bookkeeper and the board president were allowed to run the district without any other third party,” Fitzpatrick said.

And when there were other board members “they were signing blank checks and giving those blank checks to the bookkeeper and not knowing what those checks were then used for,” Fitzpatrick said.

A spokesperson for the Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed there is an ongoing investigation but could not offer further comment.

“We think the amount of money involved here is certainly enough that it would warrant criminal prosecution,” Fitzpatrick said.

Madison Steward will have more on this story on Heartland News at 6.