Legislative auditor investigating missing utility collections in Franklinton

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

FRANKLINTON- When Adam Simmons noticed something off about his utility bill a few months ago, including the $700 total, he came up to Franklinton Town Hall to get it figured out.

"I started adding up all of the payments on my bills and it was over just about every month," he said.

Little did he know that the town's auditor was already looking into the potential reason, which according to her report, completed in May, was two utility clerks allegedly stealing payments to the tune of almost $50,000.

The report says most of the affected accounts were common cash-paying customers, many who provided receipts showing bills paid, where the account records showed large, unpaid balances. The report says the clerks admitted to borrowing from the utility collections.

That claim has many in town furious. "I was very upset because we on total disability, and that's our only income," said Brenda Andrews.

During that internal review, Mayor Wayne Fleming issued a statement saying two employees had been fired and the legislative auditor's office had been notified. Investigators from that agency are doing their own digging. The mayor says he's not allowed to comment on the investigation while it's ongoing, however, auditors say the town is cooperating with their probe.

Residents are glad to hear it. Simmons said, "I think it’s good they're auditing, getting everything hopefully settled and maybe pay some of the money back."

"Me personally,” said Andrews, “I feel like those ladies should be handled because this a lot of elderly people they messed over." The town’s audit findings have been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office.

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