The Norman Transcript

April 4, 2014

Audit questions costs in Rogers County

State says paper trail doesn't match expenditures

By Trevor Brown
Associated Press

CLAREMORE, OK —  State audits have identified more than $5.5 million in questionable costs in Rogers County, including an allegedly fraudulent invoice for $36,000 that was submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The reports released this week detail a period from July, 1, 2010, to July 30, 2012, and identified 12 “items of interest” in connection with a FEMA contract issued after severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.

The reports include expenditures that were claimed without enough documentation and invoices that were submitted twice for reimbursement. The audit also flagged a fictitious invoice for more than $36,000 that was submitted for reimbursement, the report said.

“I’m not saying it wasn’t spent,” State Auditor Gary Jones said Thursday. “But the documentation wasn’t there to match it up properly ... If you can’t follow that trail, we have issues with that.”

Jones told the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/PrarM6 ) that the reports have been sent to prosecutors for their review, who will decide whether criminal charges are warranted.

“We’ll leave it up to the legal folks to make that determination,” he said. “But I do think there are items here they are going to review.”

The audit said the questionable invoices were submitted by District 2, which is headed by Commissioner Mike Helm. The report said Helm chose not to respond to the auditor’s findings, and he did not return a call seeking comment.

Other commissioners told auditors that the county will implement new procedures to prevent future problems with documentation.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com