Following a forensic audit, a 57-year-old Florida woman was fired from her job with the Okaloosa County’s Water and Sewer Department in May. Although the investigation is ongoing, the woman was recently charged with various white collar crimes. According to the county’s Inspector General, the audit revealed 83 billing irregularities that allegedly occurred from April 2008 through February this year, benefiting three contractors in the majority of the cases.
Other charges include grand theft, unlawful compensation and communications fraud. Authorities allege the crimes involved over $223,000 in total. They say witnesses have reported hearing conversations by the defendant and having conversations with her that indicated fraudulent actions. One claims to have seen cash being exchanged in one such a transaction, and another witness says the accused woman explained to her how she went about using old log books to allocate unused water meter numbers and collecting the cash for it.
Furthermore, investigators said 56 of the 83 accounting irregularities indicated probable cause for criminal charges. They also allege that she falsified and manipulated fees to benefit the contractors, who, in turn, paid her cash kickbacks. The three contractors that were allegedly involved in the schemes are apparently still being investigated.
The former employers of this woman say they received a letter in which she objected to her dismissal and claimed that the accounting irregularities were mistakes not made intentionally. Any person facing white collar crimes charges in Florida will likely recognize the severity of the situation. The most appropriate steps to ensure the best possible outcome might be to seek the support and guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: nwfdailynews.com, “Former Okaloosa County employee charged with swindling“, Wendy Victoria, Oct. 18, 2017