© 2024 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Audit shows Seminole County Sheriff's Office lost almost $200,000

Seminole County Sheriff's Office
The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s office released an audit on the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

A new audit found almost $200,000 went missing in Seminole County because of a lack of oversight in the county’s sheriff’s office.

The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s office released the report earlier this week. From December 2016 to November 2022, the forensic audit shows the office manager collected about $187,340 and it went missing.

The lost money came from a kiosk where loved ones could deposit cash for inmates to use in the commissary.

Cindy Byrd, Oklahoma state auditor and inspector, said in a press release the sheriff's office employee with the only key to the kiosk was removed during the investigation. The money was never recovered.

She said, in addition to the missing commissary funds, its profits were not deposited into the right account.

“As a result, the sheriff incurred finance charges of $15,826 because invoices were not paid on time,” Byrd said. “This was a complete waste of money which the taxpayers will never get back.”

The audit also found the Seminole County Deputy Fund, a nonprofit run in the sheriff's office, was allowed to operate in the office during business hours and had almost $90,000 in expenditures with no suitable documentation.

Purchases using this money included $400 in gift cards, a 55-inch TV and fishing tackle.

Auditors noted:

  • The sheriff’s office mixed county and nonprofit funds in the amount of $8,377.
  • There was $21,329 in undocumented cash and ATM withdrawals. 
  • Sheriff, undersheriff and a sheriff's deputy had loan proceeds totaling $10,500.
  • There was a $1,200 promissory note issued to the undersheriff.

“Problems often arise when Sheriffs create financial vehicles to collect money outside of their official duties,” Byrd said. “Our audits have reported weaknesses in the Seminole County Sheriff’s office each year over the past 12 years. Inexplicably, the former Sheriff never took any corrective action.”

When the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office received the case last year, the county sheriff agreed to resign, repay $2,566 in restitution for payments or loans he got from the Deputy Fund and a two-year suspension of his credentials. The county’s undersheriff also resigned last year.

The full audit has been turned over to prosecutors.

* indicates required

Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.
Related Content