PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A brand new forensic audit alleged the Petersburg treasurer stole cash and waived customer fees. The FBI was even asked to get involved. Now, Petersburg's mayor is weighing in.
"We are finally getting the truth out," Mayor Sam Parham said.
He says the truth was found in a 115-page forensic audit. It suggests Treasurer Kevin Brown admitted to stealing more than $2,300 from the city's petty cash fund. Auditors say Brown also waived tax penalties, interest fees, and sometimes even the principal on customer's tax payments, leading them to believe tens of thousands of dollars may have been misappropriated.
Auditors say this practice allowed the treasurer to conceal what he was doing from city records. The report says Brown admitted doing this knowing it was a violation of state law but said he denied misappropriating any funds other than the petty cash.
When asked about it in June, he denied stealing money.
Now the city has created a tax collector position to work in tandem with the treasurer.
"This allows the city to monitor cash flows, to know when collections are high when collections are low so we can adjust spending habits in the city," Parham added.
Auditors say they were also informed of some $200,000 that may have been misappropriated from the city's parks and recreation department. They say after reviewing some documents, a parks and recreation department official should have been investigated but never was.
Now, it's too late. The 18-year-old complaint exceeds the state's statute of limitations.
"It just validates that we have more work to do down there…Our goal of this council is to right these wrongs and ensure the city has a bright future ahead of it," Parham said.
"Do you stand by your call for the Treasurer to resign?" NBC 12 asked.
"I stand by my call," the Mayor responded.
Auditors say they got in touch with the FBI in reference to the Treasurer and the Parks Department. An FBI official says it is not their policy to confirm or deny an investigation.
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