ANNAPOLIS — A legislative audit released last week uncovered about $71,000 of likely fraudulent purchase card charges by an unnamed Department of Natural Resources employee.
The audit was released on April 1. The Department of Legislative Services started its audit in February 2010 when the DNR alerted the agency and the state Attorney General’s Office to the potential employee theft.
A DNR spokeswoman said the employee “parted ways” with the agency by March 2010, but the spokeswoman would not say if the worker was fired. The audit report says the employee was fired. The Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the purchases.
The report says many of the purchases were sent to the employee’s home address and had been purchased online.
It says that invoices generated after the purchases by the employee misrepresented the items. In some cases, invoices described office supplies when the actual items purchased included computer games, clothing and gift cards.
The audit recommended that DNR ensure all employees follow state guidelines for purchase cards, since supervisors are supposed to approve purchases.
The DNR said those guidelines had not always been followed until the thefts were exposed.
“We immediately trained everyone to make sure everyone more clearly understood policies [following the thefts],” said Darlene Pisani, DNR spokeswoman.
The agency was audited from May 1, 2007, to March 17, 2010. In addition to the fraudulent purchase card discovery, the audit found:
-Some public land leases were not adequately monitored by DNR, which is charged with leasing 468 properties.
-The DNR lost $30,000 by not applying for federal fund reimbursements in a “more timely manner.”
-The DNR did not keep up-to-date equipment records.