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Tama county jailer suspected in missing county funds

Report indicates $46,752 missing

June 29, 2011
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

A report by State Auditor Dave Vaudt released Tuesday shed light on a special investigation on the alleged misappropriation of county funds by former Jail Administrator Gwen Wathan in the Tama County Sheriff's Office.

Vaudt reports the investigation identified $46,752 in collections not deposited and room and board fees not billed by the office. Wathan worked as jail administrator for 11 years and was terminated on Dec. 14, 2010.

Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera requested the special investigation be conducted by the state auditor. The report primarily covers a period from Jan. 1, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2010. Vaudt said it was not possible to determine if additional collections were not properly deposited due to the lack of adequate records.

As part of 25-page auditor's report, it indicates on Nov. 4, 2010 Kucera requested Wathan provide all unpaid invoices, undeposited checks and any unopened mail to him by Nov. 5, 2010, after he fielded several inquiries on unpaid invoices and was made aware of a lack of documentation provided to an independent auditing firm by Wathan.

Wathan did not provide the information requested by Kucera and eventually a search of her work area found eight undeposited checks totaling $8,650 including one check that was dated November 2009.

The request was then made on Dec. 2, 2010 by Kucera and the Tama County Board of Supervisors to the State of Iowa to begin the investigation.

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After detailing several ways in which funds were mismanaged, the auditor gave the following recommendation in the report:

"The Sheriff's Office should implement policies and procedures to ensure all collections received are deposited in a timely manner. As previously stated, a monthly reconciliation of the Sheriff's Office accounting records to the bank balances should be prepared by an independent person and retained."

Kucera was out of the office Tuesday and not available for comment. Tama County Board of Supervisors Chair Dan Wilkens was also unavailable Tuesday.

The Tama County Attorney's Office released information indicating the Division of Criminal Investigation is still conducting a criminal investigation with plans to update the attorney's office and the Iowa State Attorney General.



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