N.O. criminal court missing thousands from juror account

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 12:12 PM

Mike Perlstein / Eyewitness News
Email: mperlstein@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mperlstein

NEW ORLEANS -- A routine audit of New Orleans criminal court recently revealed thousands of dollars missing from an account used to pay citizens for jury duty.

Checks to jurors usually come in small amounts, $10 for each full day served in court.

But from November 2010 to April 2012, much larger chunks were being taken out of the account.

"The court is out $8,600,” said Daryl Purpera, the state's legislative auditor. “They're trying to get those funds back from the bank, but that will be something to see if that actually happens in the future."

Daryl Purpera, the state's legislative auditor, said the missing money should have been noticed much more quickly.

"The problem is it should have been caught in the normal course of business when they did their bank reconciliations,” Purpera said. “Those reconciliations were done timely, weren't done properly, and as a result it was not until April 2012 that it was discovered this money had been fraudulently taken from this account."

As a result of the discovery, the bookkeeper in charge of the account no longer works at Tulane and Broad, according to court officials.

"These things were properly they were noted as exceptions, but they weren't investigated in a timely manner,” Purpera said. “Now what they've done is place additional controls into effect."

Court officials say it appears that the thief was not an employee, but someone who lifted the court's account number from a jury compensation check.

 

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