LCCC implements greater oversight after employee thefts
NANTICOKE, Nov 09, 2012 (The Citizens' Voice - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
More frequent audits, a unified financial computer system and limitations on where cash payments are accepted are among the measures implemented at Luzerne County Community College after a second episode of alleged employee theft in the last five years.
College President Thomas P. Leary disclosed the measures Thursday, a day after investigators charged a former secretary, Janet M. Griffith with stealing at least $16,800 in cash tuition payments to the college's Public Safety Training Institute between 2009 and 2011.
Griffith was responsible for collecting tuition payments to the public safety institute, which provides training classes for police officers, firefighters and paramedics, and for making daily deposits with the college's finance office.
"We have changed a number of our procedures in order to put in checks and balances and oversight measures to prevent something like what happened at the Public Safety Training Institute," Leary said after a sparsely attended board of trustees meeting at the Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Institute.
The college started implementing the reforms about a year-and-a-half ago, around the time an internal audit found more than $27,000 missing from the training center's accounts. Records uncovered through the audit showed Griffith altered daily reports to hide records of many cash payments, investigators said.
All college departments now run on the same financial computer system, Leary said, and few, aside from the finance office, accept cash payments. More frequent audits and a constant internal review process, will enable officials to look into irregularities "immediately," he said.
Griffith's arrest came 29 months after a jury convicted former administrator Peter Moses in June 2010 of plundering $17,000 from the campus cafeteria and keeping two laptop computers purchased for the college's Educational Conference Center.
Moses, who is free while appealing his conviction and four-to-23-month jail sentence, stole at least 13 cash deposits from the cafeteria between September 2005 and April 2007. The computers, prosecutors said, were worth $1,598.
Cafeteria workers testified they also saw Moses pilfering the cafeteria cash registers, opening the drawers and stuffing his pockets with bills. In one instance, they said, Moses pulled a $50 bill from a register, dropped it on the floor and, without hesitating, placed it in his pocket.
The cafeteria will continue to accept cash, with the additional audits and other safeguards in place, as a convenience to students, Leary said.
"It would be virtually impossible not to collect cash in the cafeteria because that is the main means of currency for many of our students," Leary said.
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