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Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said his audit prompted policy and operational improvements in Philadelphia’s Register of Wills/Orphans’ Court offices.
“My team found a major flaw in the office’s operation,” DePasquale said. “City officials fully cooperated from the moment they learned of the problem. They immediately conducted an internal investigation to confirm the audit findings and swiftly took action to revise policies and procedures and terminated an employee.”
The audit discovered $149,195 in unaccounted funds from cash-only payments collected in marriage license fees. Of the unaccounted funds, the audit was able to determine $122,580 was missing. Because receipts were altered, manipulated or non-existent, auditors could not account for an additional $26,615.
The commonwealth lost out on $34,809 in revenue from its share of the $149,195 in unaccounted for marriage license fees.
DePasquale forwarded a copy of his audit report to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
“The misuse of public funds is disheartening,” DePasquale said. “What is promising is that my audit detected the missing funds and improvements were made to the system to better protect public monies. That’s how audits are supposed to work.”
The audit had six findings which were related to the unaccounted for and missing funds and implementing better internal controls in handling public monies. The audit covered the period from Jan. 1, 2013, to June 30, 2017.
In a written response to the audit, officials in the Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court said they were dismayed at the discovery of missing funds, quickly identified the source, fired an employee and revised policies, such as no longer accepting cash payments and adding supervisory oversight.
The City of Philadelphia Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court audit report is available online at: www.PaAuditor.gov.