DES MOINES, IOWA (May 25, 2023) — Auditor of State Rob Sand has released a report on a special investigation of the City of Eldridge located in Scott County. The special investigation was requested by City officials as a result of concerns regarding certain financial transactions processed by the former City Clerk, Denise Benson, and covered the period January 1, 2017 through October 31, 2022.
Auditor Sand reported the special investigation identified $76,171.90 of improper disbursements, and $8,718.18 of unsupported disbursements. The improper disbursements identified includes $42,384.74 of personal purchases made with the City’s credit card, $1,138.89 of unauthorized payroll issued to Benson and related payroll costs, $16,515.15 of payment to Benson’s Capital One Credit card bill, and $16,133.12 of payments to other vendors via check or online payment. Auditor Sand also reported the improper disbursements identified includes sales tax, late fees, and finance charges on the City’s credit card.
The $8,718.18 of unsupported disbursements identified includes $6,325.76 of purchases made with the City’s credit cards and $2,392.42 of payments made from the city’s checking account. Auditor Sand reported it was not possible to determine the propriety of these credit-card charges and disbursements because adequate documentation was not maintained to determine if they were for City operations or personal in nature.
In addition, Auditor Sand reported City officials did not implement policies or procedures to address the recommendations included in a report released in March 2022 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021. The report included recommendations to segregate duties, reconcile ending cash and investments, and implement a purchasing policy.
Auditor Sand recommended City officials implement procedures to ensure the City’s internal controls are strengthened, including properly segregating duties, performing independent reviews of bank reconciliations, and ensuring all disbursements are properly-supported, approved, and paid in a timely manner.
Copies of this report have been filed with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Scott County Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office. A copy of the report is available for review on the Auditor of State’s website at Special Interest Reports.