Audits reveal inappropriate spending on some UA system campuses

Internal audits have revealed several instances of inappropriate spending at several campuses in the University of Arkansas system, lawmakers said Thursday.

Findings of unauthorized disbursements, allegations of embezzlement of funds and assets, inappropriate transactions, fraudulent use of a credit card and unauthorized modifications to a supplier master file ranged from approximately 1,300 $ to $ 336,000, according to the Arkansas Legislative Audit’s December report.

These five cases have been referred to the Arkansas Governmental Bonding Board and the appropriate prosecutor.

Two former UA campus workers, Esther Kathryn Lake of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and Dwayne Robinson of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, have been charged with theft of property, among other charges, at the following fraudulent transactions, according to auditors.

Lake, who resigned in February, was indicted by Washington County Circuit Court in September with one count of property theft and five counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. Lake pleaded innocent in a subsequent plea and indictment.

The information given to members of the Educational Institutions Subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee on Thursday was that UA’s internal audit found 248 transactions totaling $ 335,715 for non-commercial items and travel cards. billed on cards assigned or used by Lake.

An internal audit at UAPB by AU auditors and the Ministry of Health identified $ 24,335 of unauthorized or unauthorized transactions related to a grant recipient program called Part of the Solutions, according to information provided to legislators.

Robinson was indicted in October by Jefferson County Circuit Court with theft of property, 10 counts of infringement and two counts of falsifying business records. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday, according to the state’s online court records.

Another finding was that five UA system campuses failed to complete and submit campus-level financial statements to the system office in a timely manner, meaning administrators were unable to provide their report. consolidated to Arkansas legislative audit staff before the original deadline, which delayed the audit process.

Senator Ben Gilmore, R-Crossett, said he was happy to see the criminal issue addressed, but asked what the system is doing to ensure a timely filing.

“I’m glad to know that the responsible people are, obviously, addressed, but I mean, just things like missed deadlines and things of that nature, I’m sure you probably haven’t fired someone. ‘one for missing a deadline. or the quick filing of documents or something like that, “he said.” Are there checks and balances in place to prevent this from happening again in the future? ? “

Gina Terry, chief financial officer of the system, said the system implements a new cloud-based human resources system, and some changes and difficulties have arisen as a result of this process. Terry said the system does not expect these issues to reoccur and the new program will prevent faulty accounting in the future.

Senator Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, said prosecutors do not always pursue prosecutions, and with the state seeking money for education everywhere, “putting pressure on the prosecutor might help.”

Arkansas State University System President Charles Welch answers questions from state officials Thursday at a meeting of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee at the State Capitol. More photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Staci Vandagriff)

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