A recent audit of Lewis County addressed some irregularities in the prosecutor’s office there.
According to an audit report of Lewis County released last Friday by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, several recommendations were made for the Prosecuting Attorney, Sherriff, Public Administrator, and others. The overall rating given the County was “fair.”
One recommendation was a need for accounting controls and procedures for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office when it comes to their policies for amending traffic tickets. Prosecutors are allowed to amend charges to if the person is willing to perform community service or make a contribution to a not-for-profit organization. For example, in 2017, some 400 traffic tickets were amended to less severe or non-moving violations. From those tickets, some $52,000 was given to not-for-profits, which included more than $44,000 given to a not-for-profit founded by the Prosecuting Attorney.
The audit indicated that Missouri’s constitution only allows proceeds of all penalties, fines and forfeitures to be given to the County School Fund. Apparently this practice of requiring contributions to amend tickets has since stopped.
As to the Sherriff’s Department, the audit found that it had deposited $132,500 for bonds into the office’s fee bank account. However, it found insufficient controls and procedures related to recording the bond money and certain aspects surrounding receipts. The same condition was noted back in the 2015 audit.
The auditor’s report noted that since the previous audit in 2015, some improvements had been made while others continued to persist.