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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2007
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Audit lists missing funds from Talladega County E-911 board

TALLADEGA (AP) — A state audit of the Talladega County E-911 board details alleged thefts by a former board employee, among other financial problems at the agency.

The Examiner of Public Accounts report released Friday did not identify the employee. But the board’s former bookkeeper, Shannon Patterson Keith, awaits trial on theft charges, the Daily Home reported in a story about the audit Saturday.

Keith’s attorney, Tommy Spina, told the Talladega newspaper his client admitted she had misappropriated some funds, but disputed several of the specifics listed in the audit.

The audit says unauthorized checks were written from the bank account of the district made payable to the district’s bookkeeper totaling $201,501 for the period May 7, 2001, through Sept. 30, 2006.

Of that amount, the audit says, $141,132 was deposited into her personal bank account. These checks normally were entered into the accounting records indicating they were paid to one of the district’s vendors.

Spina said he had never been presented with any evidence of the $141,000 his client allegedly deposited in her personal checking account.

Talladega County Emergency Management Agency executive director Nelson Bates, in a Thursday statement, said the board has reviewed the audit report and regrets the actions taken by a former employee as outlined in it.

“However, this board, just like other private and public businesses, is subject to an abuse of trust by employees,” the statement continued. “The loss of these funds will not negatively impact on the construction of our new central dispatch facility, nor will it necessitate a raise in rates. The board remains in strong financial position.”

Restitution

Bates said the board has collected $57,300 in restitution and will seek the full amount.

“We believe the changes now in place will prevent future misappropriations of funds,” Bates said.

Spina said he would dispute the total amount his client owed back was less than the total in the audit “to the tune of about $100,000.”

He said his client is working toward paying back what she owes, but, he said, “the final amount will ultimately be up to the judge who sentences her.”

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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