WALWORTH, N.Y. (WROC) — The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after the Town of Walworth discovered $15,000 in taxpayer funds are missing.
According to Walworth Town Supervisor Michael Donalty, the New York State Comptroller and the town’s forensic accountant determined nearly $15,000 of taxpayer funds went missing in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“There is no excuse for this kind of financial recklessness,” Deputy Town Supervisor Amber Linson said in a statement issued Monday. “The current Walworth Town Board is happy the case will continue to be pursued as we work with the Sheriff Department to see justice done on behalf of the people of Walworth.”
They believe it was “illegally disbursed”, but the release did not pinpoint the source of the missing money, but did indicate they know to where the money was sent.
The town will not be pursuing a return of the money, claiming it would be too costly. The town board sent the information to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for a criminal investigation.
News 8 has reached out to the NYS Comptroller’s Office for comment.
Statement from Deputy Town Supervisor Amber Linson
Monday March 20, the Town of Walworth referred a 2021 alleged misappropriation of $15,000 to the Wayne County Sherriff for criminal investigation. When the newly elected Town Council took office in 2022, they noticed inconsistencies and irregularities in the bookkeeping in the fourth quarter of 2021 left behind by the outgoing administration. The board then hired a forensic accountant to sort out the nature of the irregularities. It was then discovered that nearly $15,000 was misappropriated through payroll. The new Board referred the matter immediately to the New York State Comptroller for verification. The State Comptroller office confirmed and declined to pursue. The board also determined that it would not pursue civil litigation due to the high cost of civil litigation. The Town Board has referred the matter to the Wayne County Sheriff to engage a criminal investigation.
Deputy Town Supervisor Amber Linson says, “There is no excuse for this kind of financial recklessness. The current Walworth Town Board is happy the case will continue to be pursued as we work with the Sheriff Department to see justice done on behalf of the people of Walworth.”
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE WALWORTH TOWN SUPERVISOR HERE:
As Walworth Town Supervisor I speak on behalf of the entire board today. We are angered and saddened that the trust of the citizens of Walworth has been abused.
Shortly after the start of 2022, this Board discovered significant discrepancies in the Town of Walworth’s financials. Due to the complexity created by the general disorder left behind by the outgoing administration, a forensic accountant that was retained to determine the exact nature and extent of the problem. It was found that apparently, in the fourth quarter of 2021 nearly $15,000 of taxpayer funds went missing.
The current Board then referred the matter to the State Comptroller for further analysis. They agreed with the forensic accountant’s assessment that money was indeed missing and to whom it was illegally disbursed but declined to pursue.
After much consideration and despite our outrage at the abuse of trust, this Board has also decided not to pursue the recovery. The unfortunate reason is that the cost to the Town to recover the money would far outstrip the money owed, resulting in further financial damage to the Town.
What happened is wrong. Our only solace is that this incident may yet serve as an expensive reminder why it is essential to elect people of character to public office.