Employee Bonus: Vermont Style


In the last five years Virginia DeCapria, used her bouns money to buy bought 256 backyard patio bricks, 14 printers, seven laptops, a washer-dryer, refrigerator and freezer, eight digital cameras, four media players, photo scanners, global positioning systems, leather chairs and other home furnishings.   Virginia’s bonuses amounted to over $500,000.   One small problem, or an oversight is Virginia authorized the bonuses,  last week she was indicted on nice felony charges

There is an embezzelement epidemic in the state.  

 New York has more than 540 auditors assigned to the Comptroller’s Office to audit state agencies and oversee the fiscal affairs of more than 10,000 local government units.

By contrast, the Office of the Vermont State Auditor, with total staff of 14, is the smallest in the country and no longer has a legal responsibility to review the fiscal affairs in the state’s 246 towns and cities. Lawmakers did away with that authority 44 years ago. Even Guam has more auditing personnel than Vermont, according to a survey by the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers.  As a result, embezzelement is rampant.

 Take, Donald Hewitt  the former treasure of the very small town of  Ira (population 432).  Donald was assumed by everyone to be upright. He was a hometown boy who raised his family in this tiny town southwest of Rutland and worked nearby. His parents are well-regarded in town, as is his son. Yet, the mild-mannered man, as he is described by townspeople, stole from his friends and neighbors for years, a fact he admitted to in court last month.  He took at least $404,268 in taxpayer money over a 12-year period. The minimum loss to Ira, with interest, was $693,442, Forensic Auditor Michelle Cann has calculated. Add to that the cost of the subsequent forensic audit and legal costs, and the verifiable loss approaches $800,000, or about $1,850 for every man, woman and child in Ira.

Trusted employee Linda A Belval of Morrisville worked as office manager for David H Garbutt optometrist for more than 20 years. She embezzeled more than $325,000 over a 12 year period.    Tonya Drury a  cashier, 37, stole $173,000 from a waste company.     And the list goes on and on.

In 1967, the Legislature further diminished the auditor’s responsibilities by deleting a requirement that the office undertake periodic reviews of the books in state’s 246 towns and cities.Vermont has company when it comes to having a state auditor that stays out of local audits. According to data collected by the National Association of Auditors, Comptrollers and State Treasurers, there are at least 20 other states taking the same approach.

The very hardest dollar to steal is the first dollar. Doing it once makes it almost 100 percent certain you’ll do it again,”  

We got away with it because elected officials weren’t watching closely enough.That’s what two convicted embezzlers said  at a training session on how to prevent future such thefts. We got away with it because elected officials weren’t watching closely enough. That’s what two convicted embezzlers said,at a training session on how to prevent future such thefts.  Government financial accounts are ripe for embezzlement because most leaders fail to do their primary role in overseeing employees and town finances, the two men said.  “I could tell within a week or two if the boss was paying attention,” said Thomas Hughes of Milton, who was convicted in state and federal court in separate embezzlement cases.

“Government financial accounts are ripe for embezzlement because most leaders fail to do their primary role in overseeing employees and town finances, the two men said.“I could tell within a week or two if the boss was paying attention,” said Thomas Hughes of Milton, who was convicted in state and federal court in separate embezzlement cases.

 Cityfella

Source: Burlington Free Press

Published by CityFella

Moved to the Big Tomata in the nineties from San Francisco. No Suburbs for me with its single colored houses and lawns and the excitement of pulling out my trash can once a week. I'm a CityFella , a part time New Yorker. I'm happiest in the Center City where people the streets and people are alive. I'm still waiting to buy a 34th floor condo somewhere downtown/Midtown with a nightclub. "Hurry I'm old" My politics are somewhere in the middle with a needle that constantly moves. I'm too liberal to be a Republican and too conservative to be a Democrat. Everything interests me . I've come to love Sacratomato, Its a nice town in cheap sensible shoes .

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