Mo. audit: More than $500,000 in receipts missing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The state auditor found more than half a million dollars missing from the property tax receipts of a northern Missouri county, the office reported Tuesday.

State Auditor Tom Schweich said in the audit that the missing funds previously went undetected because of insufficient oversight and a failure to segregate duties in Schuyler County, a rural county that borders Iowa. Auditors said the county’s former collector — who federal prosecutors have accused of embezzlement — had received tax receipts but not did not deposit some funds, issued checks from the collector’s official bank account made payable to herself and altered tax book entries.

The U.S. Attorney’s office announced an indictment earlier this year for a mail fraud charge against former Schuyler County Collector Kathy Sue Roberts, who had served in the role since 1987 but resigned in August after state auditors reported some tax dollars were misappropriated.

Federal prosecutors accuse Roberts of starting to embezzle funds in 1992. According to online court records, she pleaded not guilty in October. A phone number listed for her home in the rural community of Downing had been disconnected Tuesday.

In addition, state auditors said county officials had not prepared a separate delinquent property tax book and that the total amount of delinquent taxes was not verified because no one totaled the unpaid entries in tax books.

Schuyler County officials said in a written response included with the audit’s findings that the prosecuting attorney is working with insurance and bonding companies to recoup missing funds. Local officials also said they have adopted new procedures for handling delinquent tax books and for recording tax additions and abatements.

Schweich’s audit examined the Schuyler County collector and the county property tax system. It rated the operations as “poor.”

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