Você está na página 1de 9

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE

Findings and Recommendations For the Period January 2011 through January 2012

Report No. 12-CIT-A

Financially Strong

Keeping Utah

AUSTON G. JOHNSON, CPA UTAH STATE AUDITOR

STATE OF UTAH

DEPUTY STATE AUDITOR:

Office of the State Auditor


UTAH STATE CAPITOL COMPLEX EAST OFFICE BUILDING, SUITE E310 P.O. BOX 142310 SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84114-2310 (801) 538-1025 FAX (801) 538-1383

Joe Christensen, CPA


AUDIT DIRECTORS:

Auston G. Johnson, CPA


UTAH STATE AUDITOR

Van H. Christensen, CPA Deborah A. Empey, CPA Stan Godfrey, CPA Jon T. Johnson, CPA

REPORT NO. 12-CIT-A June 8, 2012 Mayor Pat Cluff and Town Council Town of Springdale 118 Lion Blvd Springdale, Utah 84767 Dear Mayor Cluff and Town Council: We have performed the procedures described below to certain aspects of the Town of Springdales (Springdales) internal control and compliance for the period January 2011 through January 2012. The purpose of these procedures is to investigate allegations that Springdale was collecting cash from some defendants for citation fines and not properly remitting the citations to the Hurricane Justice Court, as required by law. We performed the following procedures at Springdale: 1. We evaluated the internal control procedures over the storage of unused citations, the issuance of citations by the police officers, the tracking of citations by Springdale, and the submission of citations to the Hurricane Justice Court for propriety and compliance with State law. (See Finding Numbers 1 and 2.) We assessed the internal control over cash receipting procedures, as it relates to cash fines collected by the police officers (cash bail). We also traced cash bail to Springdales general ledger to determine if the cash was deposited and recorded by Springdale and if Springdales cash receipting procedures are adequate and the cash that was remitted to Springdale was deposited. (See Finding Number 2.) We reviewed citations issued by Springdale for numerical sequence and compared to reports of citations received by the Hurricane Justice Court. (See Finding Numbers 1 and 2.) We tested the allocation of citation revenue and public safety expenditures to the towns of Springdale, Rockville, and Virgin for the period July through September 2011 to determine if all revenues were included and all expenditures were valid. The allocation was proper; however the surcharges were not paid to the court, county, and state. (See Finding Number 1.) We performed other procedures, as considered necessary.

2.

3. 4.

5.

Our procedures were more limited than would be necessary to express an audit opinion on compliance or on the effectiveness of Springdales internal control or any part thereof. Accordingly, we do not express such opinions. Alternatively, we have identified the procedures we performed and the findings resulting from those procedures. Had we performed additional procedures or had we made an audit of the effectiveness of Springdales internal control, other matters might have come to our attention that would have been reported to you. Our findings resulting from the above procedures are included in the attached findings and recommendations section of this report. We feel that Finding Numbers 1 and 2 are important compliance/internal control issues to Springdale. This report is intended solely for the information and use of Springdale and is not intended to be and should not be used by anyone other than this specified party. However, the report is a matter of public record and its distribution is not limited. By its nature, this report focuses on exceptions, weaknesses, and problems. This focus should not be understood to mean there are not also various strengths and accomplishments. We appreciate the courtesy and assistance extended to us by the personnel of Springdale during the course of the engagement, and we look forward to a continuing professional relationship. If you have any questions, please call Debbie Empey, Audit Director, at 801-538-1342. Sincerely,

Auston G. Johnson, CPA Utah State Auditor cc: Rick Wixom, Town Manager Kurt Wright, Chief of Police Judge Karlin Meyers, Hurricane Justice Court Hinton, Burdick, Hall & Spilker, CPAs Allen G. Brown, Rockville Town Mayor John Grow, Virgin Town Mayor Michael Mower, Deputy Chief of Staff, Governors Office Jonathan Ball, Director, Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE
FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2011 THROUGH JANUARY 2012 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. VIOLATION OF STATE LAWS REGARDING ISSUANCE OF
CITATIONS AND CITATION FINE REVENUE

1 4

2. UNACCOUNTED FOR CITATIONS

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2011 THROUGH JANUARY 2012 1. VIOLATIONS OF STATE LAWS REGARDING ISSUANCE OF CITATIONS AND CITATION FINE REVENUE Police officers in the Town of Springdale (Springdale) violated the law by collecting $11,640 in cash (cash bail) directly from foreign defendants immediately upon issuing citations for traffic violations over a 10-month period (January through October 2011). We received a complaint from a European tourist who had been visiting Zions National Park. The tourist said she received a citation and the police officer said that she must pay the fine immediately and that it had to be paid in cash. Springdale authorized this practice for years until approximately October 2011; however, this practice was inappropriate. Town personnel indicated that they had received verbal authorization years ago from a court official to collect and keep cash bail from foreign defendants. However, the Hurricane Justice Court (the Court), the jurisdictional court, indicates that the Court did not authorize these practices. We did not determine the amount of cash bail collected by Springdale prior to 2011. To help the police officers distinguish between cash bail and the other citations that were properly remitted to the Court for collection, the officers used a separate stock of citation forms that began with an L series. These forms were also used to issue citations in the towns of Rockville and Virgin since Springdale provides police services to those towns. Springdale personnel deposited the collected cash bail funds into the Springdale account and deliberately did not forward the citation forms to the Court as is required by law. Under proper procedures 1) the officers issue the citations and give copies to Springdale and the Court, 2) the defendants submit payments to the Court, and 3) the Court remits surcharges to the State, retains the Courts portion of revenue, and sends the remaining revenue to Springdale. Because Springdale did not remit cash bail, the State, County, and Court did not receive the proper amounts due them. In addition, although Springdale has been allocating a portion of the cash bail to the towns of Virgin and Rockville when appropriate, the surcharges and revenue due the State, County, and Court by those towns were also not remitted. The above practices violate the following laws: a. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. In addition, Article I, Section 7 of the Utah Constitution provides that [n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law. A police officer acting in the capacity of law enforcement, judge, and jury by collecting cash bail from only certain categories of persons without a proper reason for doing so could violate these provisions. Per an interpretation of the Utah Code provided by the General Counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts, setting bail and collecting money are judicial functions and, therefore, police officers do not have any independent authority to perform these functions. 1

b.

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2011 THROUGH JANUARY 2012 c. Utah Code 77-7-19(4) states that for those cited with a moving violation under Title 41, Motor Vehicles, the person receiving the citation shall appear before the magistrate who has jurisdiction over the offense charged. This law indicates that the offender must appear, either in person, or by submitting their bail/fine to the Court. This did not occur for the citations where cash bail was received. Utah Code 77-7-20(1) requires Peace Officers to file a duplicate copy of the issued citations within five days to the court specified in the citation. The citations where cash bail was received were deliberately never filed with the Justice Court. Utah Code 78A-7-120 dictates how the fines should be divided between the Court and Springdale. Springdale retained the entire fine for citations where cash bail was received. Utah Code 78A-7-122 dictates how the security surcharge should be allocated among the State and local entities. Springdale retained the security surcharge where cash bail was received. Utah Code 51-9-401 dictates that an additional surcharge shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for all criminal fines. Springdale did not remit any surcharge to the State for the citations where cash bail was received. The Uniform Bail Schedule in Utah Code sets the amounts to be paid in fines for violation of laws. We identified 11 occasions for the period January 2011 to October 2011 where the officers accepted an amount of cash between $6 to $50 less than the required fine set by law, for a total of $232, apparently, because this was the amount of cash the defendant was able to pay at the time. We also found occasions where defendants overpaid their fine amount, likely because the officers didnt carry change.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

This demonstrates an apparent disregard of the applicable laws, resulting in Springdale retaining money that it was not entitled to, reducing fine amounts inappropriately, and the Court, County and the State not receiving their share of funds. Recommendation: We recommend that Springdale comply with all laws, including prohibiting the police department from collecting any cash bails at any time. We also recommend Springdale determine the amount of fines and surcharges owed to the applicable State and local entities and make restitution to those entities.

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2011 THROUGH JANUARY 2012 Springdales Response: a. Officers collected cash bail because there was an agreement with a previous Hurricane Justice Court Judge/Administration allowing them to do so with foreign defendants. This was due to the fact that it was extremely difficult to collect bail from these defendants once they returned to their respective countries. Defendants were given the options of paying bail by mail, appearing before the magistrate or posting cash bail. The majority of the defendants were happy to post cash bail to alleviate the inconvenience of paying by mail or appearing before the magistrate. Over the past several years, until last year, officers occasionally remitted cash bail to the Court. No indication was received that this practice was incorrect. Officers collected cash bail only because of an agreement with a previous Hurricane Justice Court Judge/Administration. Bail is already set according to the State of Utah Uniform Bail Schedule and was collected pursuant to that schedule. Officers collected cash bail only because of an agreement with a previous Hurricane Justice Court Judge/Administration. This practice has been discontinued and a Departmental Directive has been issued correcting all old practices regarding citations and their handling. This practice has been discontinued and a Departmental Directive has been issued correcting all old practices regarding citations and their handling. This practice has been discontinued and restitution for surcharges is being determined and will be remitted to the appropriate entities. This practice has been discontinued and restitution for surcharges is being determined and will be remitted to the appropriate entities. These specific instances were unique in nature (due to the fact officers did not carry change) and these practices have been discontinued.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

We no longer take cash bail from defendants. A Departmental Directive has been written and issued to the officers correcting all old practices regarding citations and their handling. In regards to restitution, surcharges will be determined and remitted to the appropriate entities. Auditors Concluding Remark: Springdales response indicates that defendants were given the option of paying by mail, appearing before the magistrate or posting cash bail; however, the initial complaint from the European tourist indicated the police officer said she must pay the fine immediately in cash. 3

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2011 THROUGH JANUARY 2012 There is no evidence that there was an agreement with a previous Hurricane Justice Court Judge/Administration allowing the police officers to collect cash bail. The Court maintains they have had discussions with Springdale in recent years reiterating that this is not an authorized practice. Regardless, an agreement would violate State laws.

2.

UNACCOUNTED FOR CITATIONS Springdale does not account for all citations issued by police officers. We tested a range of 423 citations specifically used for cash bail and found 138 citations (33%) were missing from Springdales records. Thus, the possibility exists that officers could have written citations, collected the citation fines from defendants on the spot (see Finding No. 1), destroyed the citations, and kept the money without anyone ever detecting. Springdale was unaware of these missing citations. Springdale has the following weaknesses that prevent the facilitation of accounting for all citations: a. Springdale does not track the numerical sequence of handwritten citations to ensure that a copy of all citations has been properly remitted to Springdale and the Justice Court. Springdale should: 1) have someone other than a police officer track the numerical sequences of blank citation forms issued to each officer, 2) require police officers to issue the citations to defendants in numerical order, and 3) have someone other than a police officer account for the numerical sequence of all citations issued. The police officers do not always properly void citations, when necessary, and remit all carbon copies to the town to be accounted for. We found there were very few voided citations in Springdales files for the period January 2011 through January 2012. Voided citations should always have the word void written clearly on the top copy and all carbon copies should be remitted to Springdale. The police officers do not always properly mark warnings as such and remit all carbon copies to Springdale to be accounted for. We noted 3 citations in Springdales records that had no notation on the citations that warnings were issued instead of citations; however, the defendants indicated to us that they were given warnings. When an officer completes a citation form and then decides to issue a warning, the officer should clearly mark the top copy as a warning and have all carbon copies intact to remit to Springdale.

b.

c.

Failure to maintain control over citations could result in the misappropriation of citation fines without detection, thus creating an environment where fraud and corruption could occur without ever being detected.

TOWN OF SPRINGDALE
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2011 THROUGH JANUARY 2012 Recommendation: We recommend that Springdale account for all citations by: a. Tracking the numerical sequence of all handwritten citations by 1) having someone other than a police officer track the numerical sequences of blank citation forms issued to each officer, 2) issuing the citations to defendants in numerical order, and 3) having someone other than a police officer account for the numerical sequence of all citations issued. Properly voiding citations. Properly marking citations issued as warnings.

b. c.

Springdales Response: The citations identified as missing from Springdales records were in a box of citations which were approximately ten years of age. These citations were specifically Virgin Town citations. These citations were accessible to previously employed police officers as well as current police officers. It is impossible to determine the time period when the citations went missing; any time within the past ten years. Pursuant to the State Auditors Report, Internal Investigations were conducted by Chief Wright. He issued the Garrity warning (which includes serious consequences if it is ever discovered the officers were not truthful during the investigative process regarding this subject) to Officers Brecke and Ballard, who are the currently employed officers. He conducted interviews with the officers and felt confident that they were truthful with him and had not committed fraud or theft. a. The Administrative Assistant will track the numerical sequences of blank citation forms issued to each officer. These forms will be stored in a secure area. The police officers will issue citations to defendants in numerical order. The Administrative Assistant will account for the sequence of all citations issued. A Departmental Directive has been issued regarding citations and their handling. The Directive also clarifies the issues addressed above. Officers will properly void citations by writing void across the citation and submitting it for accounting and filing. Officers will properly identify citations issued as warnings by writing warning across the citation and submitting it for accounting and filing.

b.

c.