Plano ISD Conducted Thorough Investigation in Fraud Allegations Which Led to Employee's Dismissal and Subsequent Conviction
April 1, 2014
Superintendent confirms that safety and security at facilities were never compromised and takes measures to increase awareness and implement an anonymous fraud detection hotline
When a Plano ISD security department employee notified the department’s executive director that a questionable invoice had been discovered, district administrators immediately opened an investigation. Plano ISD Superintendent of Schools Richard Matkin took the following steps:
- Appointed the district’s legal counsel, Richard Abernathy, to lead the investigation process.
- Informed the Plano ISD Board of Trustees.
- Directed the internal auditor to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the validity of the claim.
- Retained the services of an independent forensic auditor, William Brown, CPA, a former FBI agent, to assist with the internal investigation.
- Took immediate action to place the complicit employee on leave and recommended his termination to the board upon the direction of legal counsel in December 2013.
- Filed a theft report with the Plano Police Department and subsequently asked for federal intervention to attain the strictest enforcement of the law.
- Filed claims with both the district’s and the vendor’s insurance carriers while also seeking restitution from the guilty parties.
While the employee was suspected of exploiting funds allotted for security measures, the investigation confirmed that the safety and security systems of the district were not compromised and the charges regarding fraud were restricted to invoicing. The FBI is prosecuting in a range of $2.5 million to $7 million according to federal sentencing guidelines. Plano ISD has reported $2.7 million in questionable charges.
“The district is the victim of a crime and this matter resides with the appropriate authorities. In light of this criminal activity, we are reviewing all purchasing protocols and have noted the findings of the investigation,” said Superintendent Matkin. “While collusion between an employee in management and a vendor can circumvent internal controls, there needs to be a heightened awareness and a vigilance to root out those with criminal intent which includes paramount efforts to recover funds.”
Post-investigation audit recommendations that Superintendent Matkin plans to immediately implement are in the areas of purchasing, fraud identification, ethics training for the management team and the addition of an internal auditor.
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