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June 26, 2015

HOW MUCH MONEY WENT MISSING WHILE THE AUDIT WAS DELAYED?


The warrant issued for Sherry Braley states that the offense of theft by taking occurred between March 1, 2013 and June 19, 2015 and was in excess of $15,000.

The Monticello News updated their story on the GBI arrest of Sherry Braley online this morning. 

 
The warrant was taken by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and a spokesman said irregularities were found in the audit, and the sheriff's office called in the GBI. Ms. Braley was booked into the Jasper County jail, and released on a $5,000 bond. 

Irregularities were found in the audit.  That is the audit for the fiscal year 2014 that ended on 6/30/2014.  That is the audit that was supposed to be complete by 12/31/14.  That is the audit that was delayed by Karen Degges and her staff.  That is the audit that covers the period when Karen Degges was Financial Director and was supervisor over Sherry Braley.  That is the audit that still hasn’t been presented.

Commissioners, here are some questions that we the people want answered because it is our money that is missing and we have the right to know.  We don’t want this information hidden behind closed doors in your back room.

1.     Approximately how much money over the $15,000 is in question?

2.     How much and from which department(s) was money taken?

3.     What methods were used to perpetrate this fraud?

4.     How much of this money was taken from 1/1/15 to present?  This is the amount that could have been prevented from “theft by deception” if the audit had been prepared on time.

5.     Why was limited or no supervision of Sherry Braley (and many other employees) allowed?  She was not required to be at work on time, turn in logs of what she did, or report paid time off.  Why?

6.     Why was there never a requirement to keep a log of citations and/or permits issued?

7.     Why did Karen Degges allow Sherry Braley to resign after being interviewed by the GBI? 

8.     Who knew about this theft, what did they know, and when did they know it?

9.     Who posted Sherry Braley’s bond?  Why was it only $5,000?

10.        When will the audit be presented to the public?

11.        Why hasn’t Karen Degges been fired?  She was the supervisor, the Financial Director part of this time, and has claimed to be a “forensic accountant” on at least 2 separate occasions.

 

Here are some of the comments posted to the blog about our original post
GBI ISSUES WARRANT FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEE  

Commissioners, we hope you read these and see what people are thinking/asking/wondering.

Submitted on 2015/06/23 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for update. At least when she quit she can not get unemployment.

Karen Deggs might have finally done something right for once.

Submitted on 2015/06/23 at 8:32 pm | In reply to gayle gray.

The problem with letting someone resign is, the felony/fraud is not on their record. Other unsuspecting cities, counties, private businesses hire them not knowing their background. Karen Degges has done everything possible to keep honest employees from getting unemployment, including falsely testifying to the Dep’t of Labor. And here we have an arrest by GBI and there’s a resignation allowed!

Submitted on 2015/06/23 at 8:19 pm

Zero Code enforcement cases in 2014? Why do we even need code enforcement at all if they don’t do their job?

Although I don’t know the specifics about the arrest, getting paid for a whole year and not one case brought before the court – I would call that theft by deception.

Submitted on 2015/06/23 at 8:44 pm

Where did the $15,000 come from and how did not one notice it missing?

Submitted on 2015/06/23 at 9:01 pm | In reply to Harold.

Hoping answers are in the audit report we have been waiting on for a year.

Submitted on 2015/06/23 at 10:03 pm

By allowing a resignation from an employee who has supposedly committed a crime against tax paying citizens, Degges is making a statement about herself. Such an action leads one to believe Degges may have been fully aware of and possibly involved in the alleged activity.

Submitted on 2015/06/24 at 8:19 am

I know there were many citizens who complained to the BOC about checks written to P&Z never clearing their bank.You would think after sevaral complaints somebody would have looked into the problem.  I guess it is easier to just raise our taxes every year,than to look for waste and stealing.

Submitted on 2015/06/24 at 12:36 pm

No surprise here. The last Code Enforcement officer was fired for embezzlement as well.
This is indicative of the type of character attracted to this sort of loathsome job involving the near constant harassment of one attempting to exercise their property rights. .

Also, could it be that the main objective for exposing the corrupt side of the now former code enforcement officer was to make room to move a preferred employee up?

That said, and seeing how budgets cuts are extreme need of being made, now would be a fine opportunity to shut that P&Z office down for the “greater good” of all Jasper County citizens.

Submitted on 2015/06/24 at 7:09 pm

So this is the same Sherry Braley that told the commissioners that animal control spent $7000 a month on utilities. It was obvious she had a problem with money then.

                Submitted on 2015/06/24 at 7:16 pm | In reply to Jerry.

That may be so, but the BOC is even more disfunctional when it comes to money. Supposedly the BOC reviews each and every check and invoice. If they actually did that, they would realize that the ENTIRE utility bill for ALL departments and county buildings for a month are not $7000. However both Comm. Salmon and Comm. Henry told Ms. Braley there should be an utility audit by CGEMC to see why the costs were so high. Scary to realize no one seems to know what is going on, but they sure know how to raise our taxes.

Submitted on 2015/06/24 at 8:23 pm

On May 22, 2014, Ms. Degges informed the BOC she had been a forensic auditor. If this is true, why did Ms. Degges allow this to happen. Ms. Degges repeatedly told the BOC and tax payers during financials, all departments were within budget and revenues were coming in as projected. This was either a lie or a cover up.

Submitted on 2015/06/24 at 8:56 pm

This would explain why the audit is so late. Mr. Benton told the BOC and the public that the audit would be done in March or April at the latest. There is still not date set on when the public can see the audit.

The commissioners don’t seem to care about the audit. When someone brings something that seems fishy to their attention they seem oblivious to it and view it not being germane.

Indifference leads to corruption.

Submitted on 2015/06/26 at 9:46 am

I have learned from the Monticello News that Ms. Braley’s theft was discovered by the auditors.

A timely audit would have discovered this long before now. It is unconscionable for our commissioners to be so lackadaisical about audits and fiscal matters in general. Why did the BOC allow the audit to be delayed so long?

Commissioner Luke, how much gravel could the stolen monies have bought?

Ms. Degges makes us believe that she has a firm grip on finances, yet money gets stolen right from underneath her nose. So much for her forensic accounting experience.

I am disgusted that our commissioners let employees do as they please. There is no accountability. People show up late for work and nothing gets done. In private business, consistent tardiness is not tolerated and results in dismissal.

If our government was run like a private business, it would be bankrupt and shut down.

 

TWG appreciates everyone’s comments.  We have also been hearing from members of the public who had to demand receipts for payments and were asked to pay in cash. 

We hope everyone will be at the July 6th BOC meeting at 6:00PM and ask for answers to all these questions!  Please make plans to be there!

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