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Investigation into missing money continues

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Wood County, WV

PARKERSBURG - An investigation into nearly $8,000 of missing forfeiture money from the evidence room of the Wood County Sheriff's Office is still ongoing, but measures have been taken to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, an official said.

The money was discovered missing during a 2009 audit of the sheriff's office for the 2008 fiscal year. The audit was completed in November. A criminal investigation was immediately requested by outside law enforcement agencies and is still in progress, said Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy.

Sandy said Wednesday the $7,949.24 was forfeiture money from previous investigations, but had nothing to do with the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force.

According to the audit report, the funds were used as petty cash. A log book showed the last activity to be in June 2005.

Possible leads into the investigation were not disclosed by the sheriff.

"As with all ongoing investigations, I cannot comment on this case," said Sandy.

To prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, changes were made to improve efficiency in all areas of the sheriff's office, Sandy said.

A special law enforcement fund was created following the audit for forfeiture money, said Sandy.

"We have implemented a separation of duties," he said. "Individuals who are authorized to write checks are not the same individuals who make the deposits."

Locked cash boxes were implemented at tax deputy work stations. All checks waiting to be processed in tax operations are now stored in locked cash boxes, he said.

An accounting and tracking system was established for items in the evidence room using speadsheets.

"Every single item in the audit we addressed 100 percent," said Sandy.

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