Audit of Amherst County Treasurer's Office Released

Evelyn Martin

Amherst, VA - A turnover audit of the Amherst County treasurer's office shows nearly $68,000 went unaccounted for under the former treasurer.

The county manager says Evelyn Martin, charged with embezzlement and money laundering, is accused of taking roughly $31,000. Clarence Monday says the remaining $36,000 is a combination of human error or malfeasance.

"It was a mess, a total mess," Garry Friend described the treasurer's office before he took over in January 2012.

He's been waiting 19 months for the turnover audit, a job he says typically takes a matter of days.

"I was really surprised of the lack of controls, of the lack of accountability. I didn't expect it to be at the extent that I've seen," Friend added.

According to the audit, just made public by the accounting firm, $67,291 went unaccounted for from January 2011 to December 2011.

The county administrator says roughly half of that, the former treasurer's accused of stealing. The rest he says is still being tracked down.

"It was pretty quick, pretty quick that I identified we had some red flags in the office that needed to be researched and investigated," Friend said.

Among the issues found in the audit: credit card fees, treasurer's checks, deposits, ambulance fees and banking service charges were not being recorded.

The lead accountant recommended the county add more checks and balances to the treasurer's office, many of which have already been implemented.

"The real important change happened recently which is hiring the bookkeeper," said Friend.

Not one, but two sets of eyes will now be watching the county's money.

The new treasurer says it's one way of bringing trust back to the office and says this audit tells voters what he's been saying all along:

"You made the right decision."

Attached to the audit was a letter from the CPA, calling the former treasurer's behavior unfortunate and saying she failed her constitutional obligations.

The accounting firm will discuss this report with the board of supervisors at a meeting in September.