P-Card Use Gone Wild in North Carolina

July 15, 2016

Town officials in Spring Lake, North Carolina are feeling the heat after the N.C. Office of the State Auditor released a report alleging that thousands of dollars were used inappropriately by the officials.

As detailed in the report, 63 town employees could potentially have misspent almost $500,000 between July 2010 and March 2015.

Most of the misspent funds were related to personal purchases made using town purchase cards (P-Cards), and the town mayor, police chief and finance director are all reportedly involved in the case.

The State Auditor’s report indicated that board members and town officials had:

  • Spent more than $366,000 on purchases in violation of town policies
  • Spent more than $122,000 on questionable practices
  • Failed to bill, record and collect almost $91,000 from a customer for utility services

In total, $578,930 in town expenditures and faulty record keeping was flagged by auditors. The town has since established a panel to review the case, with their focus being on the $122,000 spent on questionable practices. These purchases will be reviewed in detail to identify legitimate purchases versus cases of P-Card misuse.

The Office of the State Auditor was tipped off to the problem by a Spring Lake resident who suspected town employees of using their P-Cards to make personal purchases.

After reviewing expense reports, which were obtained through a public records request, the resident uncovered a pattern of questionable—and potentially personal—purchases, as well as lost receipts, lack of documentation, and purchases over established limits.

The state auditor has recommended that:

  • The board should oversee the town’s operations
  • The town should consider taking disciplinary action against management
  • The town should try to get reimbursed by anyone who misused their P-Card

A case like this reinforces the importance of having a continuous controls monitoring solution in place to automatically monitor all transactions, all the time.

Learn how Alessa detects anomalies and control breakdowns to help your organization prevent loss and grow your p-card program.

About Anu Sood 

Anu Sood (LinkedIn | Twitter) is the Director Marketing at CaseWare RCM and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. She has over 20 years of experience in product development, product management, product marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing and strategic marketing in high-tech industries.

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