The Office of the State Auditor released its Audit of the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Quality, identifying misappropriation of public funds by a former DWQ employee.
The Office found that the former employee was improperly reimbursed for travel costs amounting to at least $20,404 from July 2006 through October 2016 based on fictitious hotel invoices. The Office also estimates that $124,049 in salary was paid to the employee during these purported business trips.
In late 2016, DEQ personnel found irregularities in a hotel invoice related to a travel reimbursement request submitted by this particular employee. When questioned, the employee resigned his position. DEQ began an investigation to identify the scope of the problem. DEQ noted that inappropriate travel reimbursements had occurred for at least several years. DEQ notified the Office to request assistance.
The Office conducted a more in-depth investigation and noted a pervasive pattern of questionable travel documentation dating back for at least a decade. The audit report details the findings and recommendations. We commend DEQ for initially identifying the problem and for involving the Office in its investigation.